Obama: Withdrawal from Paris Agreement signifies ‘absence of American leadership’

In the wake of President Trump’s announcement that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Agreement, former President Obama issued a pointed statement lamenting the decision, even as he expressed hopes that individual states, cities and businesses would continue to combat climate change.

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“The nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created,” 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.”

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Obama’s statement emphasized “growing industries like wind and solar” and the economic benefits of staying in the agreement, a sharp rebuke to Trump’s stated reason for the U.S.’s withdrawal, which is protecting American workers and avoiding stifling regulations.

Though the agreement is not binding, nearly every country in the world has joined. The U.S., after withdrawing, will join Nicaragua and Syria as the only other countries not part of the agreement.

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