— -- Former President Barack Obama took a shot at Donald Trump's move to withdraw from the historic Paris climate agreement, saying that the Trump administration "joins a small handful of nations that reject the future."
Obama also said the accord "opened the floodgates" to jobs as opposed to being the economic drag that Trump cast it as.
"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," Obama said.
In a press conference at the White House today, President Trump announced that although the U.S. will withdraw from the accord, it will begin negotiations to potentially re-enter either the Paris Accord or an entirely new climate agreement.
“So we are getting out but we are starting to negotiate and we’ll see if we can make a deal that’s fair," Trump said.
Obama said it was "steady, principled American leadership" and "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," Obama said.
Since the private sector had already chosen a low-carbon 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 former president said.
Despite the Trump administration's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, Obama expressed confidence in Americans to continue to lead the way to protect the environment.
"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 said.