In October, the Central American nation of Nicaragua announced plans that it would sign the 2015 Paris Climate Accords.

Now, less than a month later, the civil-war torn country of Syria announced that it plans on joining Nicaragua and the rest of the world in honoring the 2015 accord.

Once this happens, the United States will become the sole nation refusing to adhere to a global consensus on the need to address climate change.

Read More: What to Expect From the Paris Climate Talks, and Why They're More Important Than Ever

Syria, which has been engaged in devastating civil conflict for the last six years, made its announcement during a UN Climate Change Conference on Tuesday morning. The surprise statement came amidst a collection of world leaders affirming their own commitment to achieving the goals set forth during the 2015 accords.

The 2015 agreement was signed onto by almost 200 nations, and committed each country to cut climate emissions in order to prevent a global temperature rise of 3.6 degrees fahrenheit (or 1.5 degrees celsius). After previous failures to reach a broad coalition of support, the accords represented the first unified effort to outline actionable solutions to climate change on a global scale.

Former US president Barack Obama said in a 2015 address from the White House that the deal reflected a positive shift in global thinking on climate change.

“This agreement sends a powerful signal that the world is fully committed to a low-carbon future,” he said. “We’ve shown that the world has both the will and the ability to take on this challenge.”

However, in June of 2017, president Donald Trump announced that he would be withdrawing the US from any commitments made in the 2015 deal, citing perceived economic and sovereignty threats.

“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” the president said in a speech from the Rose Garden earlier this year.

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In light of one of the most devastating hurricane seasons to ever hit the US, scientists are warning that increased global temperatures and climate-change-caused disruption of weather patterns could lead to even more sharp increases in climate-related disasters in the near future.

Read More: Climate Change Could Push 720 Million People Into Extreme Poverty: Report

Refusing to take action on climate change will not only continue to affect US citizens in the coming years, but also citizens of the world, many of whom lack the resources to protect themselves from the displacement, starvation, and disease that often follows in the wake of climate disasters.

Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and taking action on climate change is goal number 13. You can take action on this issue here.

Almost immediately after President Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the accord, politicians across the US spoke out on the need to address climate change. A group called the Climate Mayors formed in March, uniting almost 400 cities in the commitment to honor the goals adopted in the Paris Climate agreement.

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Read More: Despite Trump's Opposition, US Senate Votes to Spend $10 Million Fighting Climate Change

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke of the need for local representatives  to take on the fight against climate change in an op-ed for the Guardian.

“In Chicago and cities across America, we are sending a clear signal,” Emanuel said. “We will not be deterred and we will not let the truth about climate change be obscured.” 


Defend the Planet

Syria Pledges to Sign Paris Climate Agreement, Leaving US Alone

By Andrew McMaster