Nicaragua fights climate change despite rejecting Paris Agreement

Latin America

Nearly 200 nations signed the Paris Climate Agreement, putting limits on carbon emissions.

But two months ago, President Trump announced the U.S. was pulling out of the deal. Two other countries are on the short list of nations that didn’t sign – one is Syria, and the other Nicaragua.

CGTN’s Franc Contreras went to Managua, to find out why.

Nicaragua is remembered for overthrewing its dictator in the late 1970s. Revolutionary leader Daniel Ortega led this nation from 1979 to 1990. He’s been Nicaragua’s president for the past 10 years.

In 2015, Ortega’s government opposed the Paris Climate Agreement, said it does not hold signatory nations responsible for meeting carbon emissions goals.

“We don’t want to be an accomplice to taking the world to 3 to 4 degrees and the death and destruction that represents,” said Paul Oquist, Nicaragua’s Envoy to the COP21 meeting in Paris.

CGTN requested an interview with the Nicaraguan government for this report, but our requests were not granted.

Nicaragua has made great strides toward fighting climate change. Fifty percent of the country’s electricity now comes from renewable resources— like geothermal energy from volcanoes.

Lake Nicaragua, Central America’s largest body of fresh water, is also part of this country’s move toward increasing its use of renewable energy. Strong steady gusts coming off the lake help make this part of Nicaragua one of the world’s best locations for wind generated electricity production.

Scientists here and abroad agree— geographic location and the intensity of extreme climate events make Nicaragua and much of Central America among the most vulnerable regions on the planet to temperature changes.

Victor Campos, the director of Managua’s Humboldt Center, an environmental think tank, urges the Nicaraguan government to join the Paris agreement, and clearly state its own policy toward fighting climate change.

“The government should publicly announce a national plan for adapting to climate change and state its goals and objectives for the period of time from now to 2020,” Campos said.

Nicaragua will have a chance to do just that in 2020, when nations gather with the objective of setting clearly stated and enforceable goals aimed at curbing global carbon emissions.