Addressing President Trump’s announcement to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement today, Barack Obama issued a rare statement calling the move an “absence of American leadership.”
Additionally, Obama zinged, “This Administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future.”
Here is President Obama’s full statement:
A year and a half ago, the world came together in Paris around the first-ever global agreement to set the world on a low-carbon course and protect the world we leave to our children.
It was steady, principled American leadership on the world stage that made that achievement possible. It was bold American ambition that encouraged dozens of other nations to set their sights higher as well. And what made that leadership and ambition possible was America’s private innovation and public investment in growing industries like wind and solar – industries that created some of the fastest new streams of good-paying jobs in recent years, and contributed to the longest streak of job creation in our history.
Simply put, the private sector already chose a low-carbon future. And for the nations that committed themselves to that future, the Paris Agreement opened the floodgates for businesses, scientists, and engineers to unleash high-tech, low-carbon investment and innovation on an unprecedented scale.
The nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created. I believe the United States of America should be at the front of the pack. But even in the absence of American leadership; even as this Administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got.
The 2015 agreement was adopted by 195 countries seeking to decrease carbon emissions and combat climate change.
Only two other countries, Syria and Nicaragua, are not part of the agreement.
In talking points delivered to Trump’s allies, the White House characterized the Paris agreement as a job killer that placed undue burdens on American taxpayers.
“The Paris Accord is a BAD deal for Americans, and the President’s action today is keeping his campaign promise to put American workers first,” the talking points read. “The accord was negotiated poorly by the Obama administration and signed out of desperation. It frontloads costs on the American people to the detriment of our economy.”
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were calling lawmakers, including House and Senate leaders, in the hours leading up to the announcement to get input on his climate decision, a Republican source said.
In triggering the official withdrawal process, Trump will spark a lengthy process that won’t conclude until November 2020 — the same month he’s up for reelection.
Reuters is reporting that President Trump has (surprise!) decided to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.
The accord, agreed on by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015, aims to limit planetary warming in part by slashing carbon dioxide and other emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Under the pact, the United States committed to reducing its emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.
The decision to withdraw from the climate accord was influenced by a letter from 22 Republican U.S. senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling for an exit, Axios reported.
Trump has repeatedly expressed doubts about climate change, at times calling it a hoax to weaken U.S. industry. An overwhelming majority of scientists, however, say climate change is driven by human use of fossil fuels.
The withdrawal would mean only the United States joins Syria and Nicaragua as the world’s only non-participants in the Paris Climate Agreement.
A recent NBC/WSJ poll shows 67% of Americans support action to combat climate change.
Reminder from April 2017 NBC/WSJ poll: A combined 67% of Americans back action to combat climate change pic.twitter.com/2d8PY0sUZ1
President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday he will make a decision next week on whether the United States will withdraw from the landmark Paris climate accord.
At the G7 Summit in Sicily this week, several world leaders attempted to sway Trump into staying committed to the climate agreement.
An official dispatch from the G7 read, the U.S. “is in the process of reviewing its policies on climate change and on the Paris Agreement and thus is not in a position to join the consensus on these topics.”
Speaking to reporters after the G7 meeting, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “The whole discussion about climate has been difficult, or rather very unsatisfactory. Here we have the situation that six members, or even seven if you want to add the EU, stand against one.”
Running for president in 2016, Trump often threatened to tear up the climate agreement that President Obama signed. But, aides to Trump say the president listened carefully to his counterparts, and is “evolving” on the issue.
News site Axios reports that Trump has already told several close advisers he plans to leave the accord.
I will make my final decision on the Paris Accord next week!