Which countries have not ratified the Paris climate agreement?

Nearly three years after it was agreed, more than a tenth of global emissions are generated in countries that have not formally adopted the deal


By Soila Apparicio, Climate Home News

Liberia is about to join 178 other parties in ratifying the Paris Agreement, after its senate voted in June to approve the deal.

The west African nation will soon finalise the ratification process at the UN headquarters in New York, according to a government official.

There are 197 signatories to the Paris Agreement. But once Liberia makes it official, 19 nations will remain yet to ratify, including some major emitters. In total, these countries account for 11.5% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

International agreements can be signed, but they only become binding through ratification. That can take an act of parliament or some other formal acceptance. Different countries have different processes.

Once ratified, the agreement commits governments to submit their plans to cut emissions. Ultimately they will have agreed to do their bit to keep global temperatures well below 2C above pre-industrial times and to endeavour to limit them further to 1.5C.

Here are some of the hold outs.


Russia is the largest emitter that has not yet ratified the Paris Agreement, with approximately 5% of global emissions in 2015. Its pledge to the deal, proposed to reduce emissions 25% to 30% below 1990 levels by 2030.

Nationally, large state-owned fossil fuel companies, support Russia’s energy needs and wield huge political power. There is a pro-Paris lobby made up of businesses and climate groups: the Russian Partnership for Climate Protection.

On the international stage, Russia has supported climate cooperation. The Kremlin spoke in support of the agreement following US President Trump’s announcement that his country intended to withdraw. No Russian ratification yet though.


Since the adoption of the UN climate convention in 1992, Turkey has more heavily relied on fossil fuels, particularly coal, to keep up with increasing energy demands. Its emissions increased 135.4% between 1990 and 2016.

Turkey has a peculiar beef with the Paris Agreement, stemming from its decision to sign up to the convention as a developed country.

Turkey has since argued that it is a developing country and has won special circumstances, allowing it to opt out of supplying finance. But it still cannot access climate cash, a condition president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said must change if Turkey is to ratify the agreement.


As a major producer of oil and natural gas exporter, Iran’s energy sector accounts for around 77% of its total emissions. Despite its fossil fuel empire, the country has developed the renewable energy industry under a number of national plans and funds.

Its emissions pledge in Paris, however, was uninspiring; the country suggested it would intend to mitigate its GHG emissions by 4% in 2030 compared to a business as usual scenario.

Iran’s reluctance to ratify the Paris Agreement stems from an unwillingness to shift their economy. Economic sanctions from the international community are also a sticking point.


Colombia’s parliament passed a bill ratifying the Paris Agreement in June 2017, but the country has yet to bring that to the UN. Around 10% of the Amazon rainforest grows within Colombia’s borders, levels of deforestation are increasing. In 2017, tree loss jumped by 46% from 2016 according to a recent report by the World Resources Institute (WRI).

“I am pleased that Congress approved that Colombia is part of the Paris agreement @COP21, which confirms our commitment to the environment,” said President Juan Santos on Twitter.

The country’s diplomats may be holding off until the UN general assembly meets in September, which runs parallel with Climate Week, to officially deliver their ratification to the UN.

San Marino

San Marino has a tiny 0.27mtCO2 emission share (that’s a minuscule percentage of the global total). The ratification of the Paris Agreement is on the agenda of the next session of the Great and General Council (parliament), to be held from 19 to 27 July.

As of 12 July 2018, the countries yet to formally ratify the agreement were Angola, Colombia, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Nicaragua, Oman, Russia, San Marino, South Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.

The aricle, originally appeared on Climate Home News, is republished under Creative Commons license.



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