Barack Obama has accused Donald Trump of “rejecting the future” after he confirmed he would pull America out of the landmark Paris climate deal.
The former US President said those nations that remained signed up to the accord would “reap the benefits in jobs and industries created”.
But he added: “This [Trump] Administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future.”
Mr Obama’s administration played a key role in negotiating the deal and the two-term President made protecting the environment a priority for his administration.
Speaking after Mr Trump announced America was withdrawing from the agreement with immediate effect, the former President said the US “should be at the front of the pack” when it came to lowering emissions and developing green technology.
“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,” Mr Obama said.
Under the Paris Accord, the US agreed to reduce emissions by between 26 per cent and 28 per cent of 2005 levels by 2025.
However, Mr Trump said America would stop adhering to the emissions reductions standards immediately.
The Paris Agreement is a global deal agreed under the United Nations in the French capital in December 2015, which will see action by all countries to curb rising temperatures.
Then-president Mr Obama signed up to the deal, without ratification by the US Senate, last year.
In pulling out, Mr Trump, who has described climate change as a hoax by the Chinese to hurt US manufacturing, is honouring a pledge made on the campaign trail to quit Paris and boost fossil fuel production at home.
He claims the deal allows countries such as China and India to continue polluting, and gain a “financial advantage” over the US.
Here is the full statement from Mr Obama on the Paris climate agreement
A year and a half ago, the world came together in Paris around the first-ever global agreement to set the world on a low-carbon course and protect the world we leave to our children.
It was steady, principled American leadership on the world stage that made that achievement possible. It was bold American ambition that encouraged dozens of other nations to set their sights higher as well. And 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. And 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.
The nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created. 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.