President Joe Biden apologized to world leaders at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP26, in Scotland on Monday for the U.S.’s decision to pull out the Paris Climate Accord, blaming former President Donald Trump for “putting us behind the eight ball.”
“I guess I shouldn’t apologize, but I do apologize for the fact the United States, in the last administration, pulled out of the Paris Accords and put us sort of behind the eight ball a little bit,” Biden said.
President Biden at the #COP26: “I guess I shouldn’t apologize, but I do apologize for the fact the United States, in the last administration, pulled out of the Paris Accords and put us sort of behind the eight ball a little bit.” pic.twitter.com/NmoVnfygF0
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) November 1, 2021
Biden also told the more than 100 world leaders the agreement “isn’t the end of the journey,” but “just the starting line to begin to really take for the first time really decisive action.”
The president called it an “incredible opportunity.”
“I believe there’s an incredible opportunity — not just for the United States — but for all of us. We are standing at an inflection point in history,” Biden said.
“We have the ability to invest in ourselves and build an equitable, clean energy future, and, in the process, create millions of good-paying jobs and opportunities around the world; cleaner air for our children; bountiful oceans; healthier forests; and ecosystems for our planet,” he added.
The president also warned listeners of a dire future if the U.S. and other nations failed to “seize the moment” to address climate change.
“None of us can escape the worst that’s yet to come if we fail to seize this moment,” Biden added.
As president, Trump frequently criticized the accords and moved in 2017 to withdraw the U.S. from the agreement.
In a June 2017 statement announcing his intention to abandon the agreement, Trump called it “simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers — who I love — and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.”
The president went on to confirm that “the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.”
According to Trump, complying with the agreement constituted “onerous energy restrictions,” citing research that showed it “could cost America a much as 2.7 million jobs by 2025.”
Months later, reports indicated the U.S. might be considering a negotiation that would reintroduce the nation into the accords. A White House statement shortly thereafter, however, put any such speculation to rest.
“There has been no change in the United States’ position on the Paris agreement,” the statement read.
“As the president has made abundantly clear, the United States is withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable to our country.”
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