Demonstrators protested against President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris agreement in June.

Syria Joins the Paris Agreement, Leaving the U.S. as the Only Holdout

Syria announced its intention to join the Paris climate accord at a United Nations climate conference in Germany on Tuesday, leaving the United States alone as the world’s sole holdout. (Nicaragua signed on to the agreement in October, after initially hesitating because of concerns that the agreement didn’t go far enough.)

Demonstrators protested against President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris agreement in June.

Visual: NurPhoto / Contributor/Getty

Under former president Barack Obama, the U.S. was one of 196 countries to approve the historic climate accord two years ago. But in June, President Trump announced his decision to pull out, arguing that remaining part of the accord would cause job losses and hurt domestic energy production. Despite Trump’s decision, thousands of cities, states, businesses, and other individuals and organizations have resolved to stay committed to pursuing the country’s emissions reduction goals.

France will host another climate change summit on the second anniversary of the agreement in December. An official from President Emmanuel Macron’s office has said Trump is not invited “for the time being.”

Also in the news:

• According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths in 2016 increased by more than 17 percent from the previous year. The deaths have mainly been caused by the rise in popularity of synthetic opioids like fentanyl, as opposed to heroin. (New York Times)

• Advocates are calling on the Mexican government to halt an operation to round up the world’s few remaining vaquita porpoises, after a female died within a few hours of being captured. The animals make their home in the country’s Gulf of California and today there are thought to be less than 30 left. (Associated Press)

• A new Republican tax plan could drastically change who is able to pursue at Ph.D at American universities. Buried in a bill released last week is a proposal to count graduate students’ tuition waivers as income, meaning that they would be subject to taxes. Currently students are only taxed on their stipends, which can be as low as $20,000. They say the change could cause their taxes to go up as much as 300 percent. (Wired)

• A young boy from Syria was born with a rare genetic disorder known as epidermolysis bullosa, or EB, which caused his skin to blister and tear. But in 2015, he received a successful experimental treatment to replace 80 percent of his skin with new, gene-corrected grafts grown from his own stem cells. Doctors, who say the procedure saved his life, are now conducting two clinical trials on other children with the disorder. (The Atlantic)

• Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency approved the release of male mosquitos infected with a bacteria that prevents the eggs they fertilize from hatching. The hope is that the insects, produced by the biotech company MosquitoMate, will help to wipe out populations of wild mosquitos that could be carrying harmful viruses like Zika. (CNET)

• And finally: Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez had the worst case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated trauma to the head, ever seen in a person his age. That’s according to researchers at Boston University who obtained Hernandez’s brain in April, after he hanged himself while serving a life sentence for murder. (Washington Post)