WASHINGTON: Barack Obama slammed his successor President Donald Trump on Thursday for pulling out of the Paris climate deal, warning that the move would see the United States "reject the future."
"The nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created," Obama warned in a statement.
"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.
Before leaving office, Obama helped shepherd the landmark international pact that commits all signatory nations to limiting global warming caused by carbon emissions.
"It was bold American ambition that encouraged dozens of other nations to set their sights higher as well," Obama said.
"And what made that leadership and ambition possible was America's private innovation and public investment in growing industries like wind and solar."
But Trump, who campaigned on a pledge to cancel US participation in the deal, said he would ditch the Paris accord because it handicaps the US economy.
"The Paris accord would undermine our economy, hamstring our workers, weaken our sovereignty, impose unacceptable legal risk, and put us as a permanent disadvantage to the other countries of the world," Trump said in a speech in the White House Rose Garden.
Trump said though that he was open to renegotiating the deal, or creating a new agreement, "on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers."