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Obama slams Trump for Paris climate pact decision

| Thursday, June 1, 2017, 4:24 p.m.
Barack Obama
REUTERS
Barack Obama

Former President Barack Obama says the Trump administration is joining “a small handful of nations that reject the future” by withdrawing from the Paris climate change pact.

Obama is defending the deal that his administration painstakingly negotiated. He says the countries that stay in the Paris deal will “reap the benefits in “jobs and industries created.” He says the United States should be “at the front of the pack.”

The former president says in a statement that Trump's decision reflects “the absence of American leadership.” But Obama says he's confident nonetheless that U.S. cities, states and businesses will fill the void by taking the lead on protecting the climate.

Obama says that businesses have chosen “a low-carbon future” and are already investing heavily in renewable sources like wind and solar.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors says it strongly opposes Trump's decision and vows that the nation's mayors will continue efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

The mayors said in a statement that the U.S. and other nations need to address climate change to become energy independent, self-reliant and resilient.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the group's vice president, called climate change a grave threat to coastal communities, the nation and the world. He said that if unchecked, sea-level rise caused by climate change could mean that New Orleans and other coastal cities “will cease to exist.”

Landrieu said withdrawal from the Paris agreement “is shortsighted and will be devastating to Americans in the long run.”

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