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Obama On Trump's Rejection Of Paris Accord - Shows "Absence Of American Leadership"

Former President Obama declared Thursday that the United States, by withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, has abandoned its position as a global leader on the issue, The Huffington Post reported.

Earlier in the day, President Trump announced that his administration would not honor the pact, which 195 nations signed. The agreement allows countries to set voluntary goals for reductions in carbon emissions. Dropping out of the deal means the United States is now one of “a small handful of nations that reject the future,” according to Obama. He was referring to Syria and Nicaragua, which have refused to cooperate.

Obama said, “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.”

John Kerry, Obama’s secretary of state who signed the agreement on behalf of the United States, called Trump’s move “an ignorant, cynical appeal to an anti-science, special-interest faction far outside the mainstream.” He added: “The president who promised ‘America First’ has taken a self-destructive step that puts our nation last.”

Obama praised the pact as “the first-ever global agreement to set the world on a low-carbon course and protect the world we leave to our children.” He claimed that “it was steady, principled American leadership on the world stage that made that achievement possible (and) It was bold American ambition that encouraged dozens of other nations to set their sights higher, as well.”

The ex-president explained: “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. 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.”

Obama predicted that “the nations that remain in the Paris agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created.” He lamented that the United States is no longer “at the front of the pack.”

The Guardian reported that Trump called his decision “a reassertion of America’s sovereignty.” He declared he was “elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” While the president suggested he might support a new agreement, he stressed that it would have to be “an entirely new transaction.” Heads of state in France, Germany and Italy issued a joint statement expressing “regret” about Trump’s action. They argued that the agreement cannot be revised.

Source: HuffPost
Photo: Marc Nozell/Flickr

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