In Defense of Nicaragua

A beach in Nicaragua.

In the flurry of news articles, editorials, and think pieces on the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, one fact has been cited widely as evidence that this is a bad move: the only other countries not part of the Accord are Syria and Nicaragua. The insinuation, of course, is that both of these countries are not of the civilized, progressive, strong nature with which we would like the U.S. to be associated when it comes to environmental protection (or any issue, really).

This framing is misleading and unfair to one of those countries. Nicaragua, while certainly not a major world economic or political player, gets painted as the equivalent of Syria, as if they both declined to participate in the Accord for the same reasons that Trump has withdrawn the U.S. The reality is actually the opposite: Nicaragua objects to the Paris Accord because it is not ambitious enough. Nicaragua does not agree with the compromise of a voluntary agreement, instead of binding emissions reduction goals.

In essence, the U.S. is in company only with Syria in this latest move.