Obama: US opting out of Paris agreement 'a difficult position to defend'

Obama: US opting out of Paris agreement 'a difficult position to defend'
© Getty Images

Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaFive takeaways from new fundraising reports for 2020 Democrats Obama sends birthday wishes to John Lewis: 'Thanks for making good trouble' The Hill's Campaign Report: Warren up, Bloomberg down after brutal debate MORE said Tuesday the country is in an “unusual time,” telling a gathering of world leaders that it’s “difficult to defend” the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accords.

“Obviously we’re in an unusual time when the United States is now the only nation on earth that does not belong to the Paris agreement. And that’s a difficult position to defend,” Obama said, according to The Chicago Tribune.

“But the good news is that the Paris agreement was never going to solve the climate crisis on its own. It was going to be up to all of us,” he continued.


Obama spoke for about 15 minutes at the North American Climate Summit in Chicago, which was hosted by his former chief of staff and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D).

Obama is also scheduled to speak Tuesday at a closed-door event at the Economic Club of Chicago.

Obama did not mention President Trump by name, but urged officials in attendance to continue efforts to combat climate change, regardless of the current administration’s position.

The former president cited a string of recent hurricanes that slammed Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas, noting that “more than two months later they are still struggling to recover.”

Obama told the audience that American voters should “make it a prerequisite” to vote for elected officials who say they are paying attention to global warming.

The Trump administration has made multiple decisions to end or reverse Obama-era policies focused on combatting climate change.

In October, the Trump administration moved to repeal an Obama-era climate change rule aimed at limiting carbon emissions. 

Trump announced in June that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris agreement, an Obama-era deal that amounts to the first global effort to lower carbon emissions.

Syria signed onto the deal last month, making the United States the only nation not supporting it.

The Trump administration recently said it is disbanding an interagency panel created to help explore the ways cities can deal with the effects of climate change.