BY BRANDI BUCHMAN
(CN) – Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega announced his nation’s intent to join the Paris Agreement on Thursday, leaving only two countries sitting out on the talks: the United States and Syria.
While the leader of the Central American nation, population six million, said he intends to sign on with the pact, reports from Nicaraguan television stations and newspapers, including major newspaper El Nuevo Diario, have not reported a hard and fast date for the nation’s entree.
Nicaraguan media has only reported that it will join the talks “soon.”
The about-face comes two years after the nation’s climate envoy Paul Oquist told world leaders the reason his country hesitates to join the agreement is because the pact doesn’t go far enough for developing countries.
“We are not going to submit because voluntary responsibility is a path to failure,” Oquist said in 2015.
As a smaller country with limited development and as a comparatively smaller producer of greenhouse gas emissions than other pact participants, Oquist argued that it was the responsibility of wealthier nations to lead the way on emissions mitigation.
But the nation hasn’t exactly been resting on its laurels. Since 2005, Nicaragua moved from being almost exclusively fossil fuel dependent to now producing more than 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy.
In 2013, the World Bank called Nicaragua a renewable “paradise” thanks to its geothermic energy supply derived from its own volcanic chain. The nation also boasts premium exposure to wind and sun while being surrounded by a variety of water resources.
The U.S. invested in the idyllic landscape there in 2013, dumping some $110 million into the construction of Nicaragua’s third ever wind plant, Eolo which sits on the banks of Lake Cocibolca.
Once Nicaragua officially becomes party to the talks, only Syria, a country ravaged by a brutal and bloody civil war, will be left out of the agreement.
President Donald Trump filed his intention to exit the agreement in August, but the move was almost entirely symbolic. Per the rules of the agreement, no parties can remove themselves from the pact until three years after the agreement has entered into force.
It did so on November 4, 2016. Official U.S. withdrawal could only come as soon as November 2020.