Washington, Jun 1 (EFE).- Former President Barack Obama said he regretted President Donald Trump’s move – announced earlier on Thursday – to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, saying that the countries that remain in the pact will “reap the benefits … (in) jobs and industries created,” and adding that Washington should be “at the front of the pack” in terms of taking action to prevent global warming.
Obama – who made fighting climate change one of his administration’s priorities – said that most US CEOs and industry leaders back the Paris agreement, which went into effect in late 2016, adding that Trump’s move reflects “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,” Obama said in a statement minutes after Trump made his Rose Garden announcement.
Trump announced that the US will withdraw from the Paris climate accord and pursue negotiations with other countries on amending or replacing that agreement.
“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris. I promised to exit or renegotiate any deal which fails to serve America’s interest,” he said, adding that the US “will cease all implementation” of the Paris agreement and the “draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.”
Meanwhile, Democratic leaders and the main environmental defense organizations called Trump’s move “ignorant” and a “disgrace.”
Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the pact is “an abdication of American leadership and an international disgrace. At this moment, when climate change is already causing devastating harm around the world, we do not have the moral right to turn our backs on efforts to preserve this planet for future generations,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a statement shortly before the president spoke.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said that withdrawing from the agreement is “one of the worst policy moves made in the 21st century because of the huge damage to our economy, our environment and our geopolitical standing.”
Former Secretary of State John Kerry told NBC News that “The president was not truthful with the American people today, and the president who talked about putting America first has now put America last.”
“He’s made us an environmental pariah in the world, and I think it is one of the most self-destructive moves I have ever seen by any president in my lifetime,” Kerry added.
Former Vice President Al Gore, a well-known environmental activist, criticized Trump’s announcement as “a reckless and indefensible action.”
The creator of the popular documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” about global warming emphasized that the president’s decision “undermines America’s standing in the world and threatens to damage humanity’s ability to solve the climate crisis in time.”
Environmental protection groups also weighed in on the president’s move, with Sierra Club director Michael Brune saying that “generations from now, Americans will look back at Donald Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement as one of the most ignorant and dangerous actions ever taken by any president.”
And World Wildlife Fund president Carter Roberts said that the announcement will make it more difficult to attain a safer and more prosperous future for the US and the world.
The non-binding Paris accord includes the goal proposed by Obama to reduce by 2025 greenhouse gas emissions by between 26-28 percent, compared to 2005 levels. Only two other nations – Nicaragua and Syria – do not adhere to the pact.
Statement from Mayor Liccardo Regarding the US Withdrawal from the Paris Accords
The following is a statement from Mayor Sam Liccardo regarding the decision of the President of the United States to withdraw from the Paris Accords:
“Today’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Accords represents a disappointing, but not surprising setback in the fight against climate change. While politicians in Washington continue to languish in a petroleum-fueled past, cities like San Jose will chart the path to a more sustainable future, such as our efforts to make San Jose the largest U.S. single city with Community Choice Energy. I reaffirm my commitment, along with mayors across the nation, to find innovative ways to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate our transition to a 21st century clean energy economy.” – Mayor Sam Liccardo