Obama Criticizes Climate Agreement Withdrawal: U.S. Joining 'Small Handful of Nations That Reject the Future'

June 1, 2017

Former President Barack Obama released a statement Thursday criticizing the Trump administration for withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, writing the U.S. is joining a "small handful of nations that reject the future."

Obama wrote that "steady, principled American leadership on the world stage" had made the Paris agreement a reality.

"The nations that remain in the Paris agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created," Obama said in the 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."

Obama considered the climate change deal, a global agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions, one of his administration's crowning achievements. According to the Washington Post, "more than 190 nations agreed to the accord in December 2015 in Paris, and 147 have since formally ratified or otherwise joined it, including the United States—representing more than 80 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The U.S. joins Nicaragua and Syria as the world's sole countries to not be part of the agreement.

As expected, President Trump announced the withdrawal of the U.S. from the accord on Thursday in the Rose Garden, saying it was costing the country a "fortune" and that he would try to negotiate a fairer deal for American workers.

"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," said a White House memo to supporters explaining Trump's decision. "The accord was negotiated poorly by the Obama administration and signed out of desperation."