Which countries have not ratified the Paris climate agreement?

Four years after it was agreed, a small number of countries have not formally adopted the deal

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, illuminated in green to celebrate the entry into force of the Paris Agreement, the most ambitious climate change agreement in history, on November 4, 2016 (Photo: Jean-Baptiste Gurliat/ Mairie de Paris)


Update: On 4 November 2019, the US, which had ratified the Paris Agreement formally began to withdraw from the deal. It will leave finally on 4 November 2020.

There are 197 signatories to the Paris Agreement. But 10 nations remain yet to ratify, including two major emitters.

In total, these countries account for around 3% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2018, according to the European Commission’s emissions database.

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:


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.

Air pollution caused 7 times more death than traffic accidents in Turkey in 2017 (Photo: Julian Nyča)


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.

Windmills in Manjeel, Iran (Photo: Ali Madjfar)

This article was updated from a feature written on the occasion of Liberia’s ratification of the Paris Agreement, in August 2018. As of 23 October 2019, the countries yet to formally ratify the agreement were Angola, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, South Sudan, Turkey, and Yemen.

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Read more on: Climate Politics | Paris Agreement | UN climate talks | World