Former President Barack Obama expressed dismay in response to President Trump pulling out of the Paris climate accords.
In a public statement, Obama condemned the “absence of American leadership” amid the news that Trump had unilaterally decided to pull the United States — which is the world’s second-highest emitter of greenhouse gases — out of the 195-nation agreement aiming to keep global warming below two degrees celsius. While two degrees sounds small, climate scientists expect that with two additional degrees of global warming, droughts, floods, food shortages, and other calamities will ensue, causing harm to millions of human beings and provoking the extinction of endangered species.
“The nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created,” Obama said in a public statement. “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,” he added.
As Obama pointed out, the U.S. is lonely in its decision to not join the Paris agreement. The only other nations to not join the Paris accords are Syria and Nicaragua. Trump made the decision to pull out of the agreement following pressure from international leaders during his recent nine-day trip abroad, and from pressure within his own administration, as former ExxonMobil CEO and current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had been pushing Trump to honor the agreement, and from Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who threatened to leave Trump’s presidential councils if he pulled out of the Paris agreement.
Kevin Wallace is a journalist with five years’ experience in print and digital media, and covers politics, media, and culture for the Resistance Report. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.