Obama rips Trump for failed 'leadership' as US backs out of Paris climate accords

Former President Barack Obama had harsh words for his successor in the White House after the president announced he had decided to pull the United States out of the historic climate deal Obama and more than 190 other nations' leaders entered before Trump took office.

Trump justified his decision to pull American support for the Paris climate accords as an important step in efforts to put "America first," listing ways in which the deal would limit American job growth in a series of big industries, including gas and oil.

But Obama directly disputed Trump's argument in his statement and criticized Trump, without naming him, for displaying an "absence" of leadership.

"Simply put, the private sector already chose a low-carbon future," the former president said in his statement. "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."

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Paris Climate Summit, COP21 France
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Paris Climate Summit, COP21 France
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates leave a meeting to launch the 'Mission Innovation: Accelerating the Clean Energy Revolution' at the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Le Bourget, near Paris, France, November 30, 2015. REUTERS/Ian Langsdon/Pool
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with U.S. President Barack Obama as they meet during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, November 30, 2015. REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Activists of global anti-poverty charity Oxfam wearing masks depicting some of the world leaders U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Francois Hollande stage a protest outside the venue of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Le Bourget, near Paris, France, December 10, 2015. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the climate change summit in Paris, November 30, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the climate agreement at the White House in Washington, December 12, 2015. The global climate summit in Paris agreed a landmark accord on Saturday, setting the course for a historic transformation of the world's fossil fuel-driven economy within decades in a bid to arrest global warming. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. President Barack Obama (from L) delivers remarks at a Paris Agreements climate event with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and China� President Xi Jinping ahead of the G20 Summit, at Westlake Statehouse in Hangzhou, China September 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) at the U.S. ambassador's residence during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Paris, France December 1, 2015. Obama urged Turkey on Tuesday to reduce tensions with Moscow after the downing of a Russian warplane and to seal its border with Syria to choke off the supply of money and fighters to Islamic State militants. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama walks in the main conference hall during the opening ceremony of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, November 30, 2015. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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"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 am confident that our states, cities and business will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we've got," Obama added.

The United States joined Nicaragua and Syria as the only three nations on the planet who have openly refused to back the agreement.

SEE MORE: Where is Ivanka Trump? First daughter notably absent from President Trump's announcement on Paris climate agreement

Read the full text of Obama's statement below:

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 am confident that our states, cities and business will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we've got.

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Foods that could go extinct due to climate change
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Foods that could go extinct due to climate change

Avocados

There are many reasons why avocados are more expensive now than ever before, including a farmers' strike. But the biggest threats to avocados are rooted in environmental issues linked to climate change: hot weather and droughts have caused problems everywhere from California to Australia. Avocados are weather-sensitive and slow growing — making them especially susceptible to the effects of climate change. 

(Photo credit should read RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

Coffee

In September, a report from the nonprofit Climate Institute concluded that the area around the world fit for coffee production would decrease by 50% due to climate change. In addition to dealing with drought, climate change has made coffee crops more vulnerable to diseases like coffee rust, which have wiped out more than a billion dollars in crops. 

(Photo by Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Beer

Warmer and more extreme weather is hurting hops production in the US, reports ClimateWatch Magazine. 

And droughts could mean less tasty drinks. Some brewers fear that a shortage of river water may force them to brew with groundwater — a change that the head brewer at Lagunitas said "would be like brewing with Alka-Seltzer," according to NPR. 

(Photo via Getty Images)

Oysters

Right now, climate change is actually helping oysters, as they grow faster in warmer waters. However, warmer waters also make oysters more susceptible to oyster drills, reports Seeker, citing a recent study in Functional Ecology

Drills are snails that attack and eat oysters. They're already a multi-million dollar problem for the oyster industry that could get worse thanks to warming water temperatures.

(Photo via Getty Images)

Maple syrup

Climate change is already shifting maple syrup tapping season and impacting the quality of syrup, according to Climate Central. Southern producers fear that eventually, areas like Virginia won't get cold enough for maple syrup production, even during the chilliest time of the year. 

(Photo via Getty Images)

Chocolate

Indonesia and Ghana, which have historically had ideal climates for growing cocoa beans, are already seeing decreased yields of cocoa. Chocolate companies, like Mars, have hired meteorologists to study the impact of changing weather patterns and attempt to reduce damage. 

"If climate conditions in these growing areas begin to change over time, it may influence both the supply and quality available of an ingredient that we use in our products," Katie Johnson, a senior manager on the commercial applied research team, told Business Insider in September. "Anticipating what the climate will be like 10, 20, or even 100 years from now is difficult, though the better we can understand what the different climate scenarios and risks to our supply chain are, the more prepared we can be in the future."

(Photo by Charlotte Lake / Alamy)

Lobsters

If ocean waters increase more than five degrees, baby lobsters may not be able to survive, according to research by the University of Maine Darling Marine Center and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, the Guardian reported. 

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that the Gulf of Maine will reach that temperature by 2100. In other words, Maine's lobsters could go from a more than $330 million business to extinct in 84 years. 

(Photo via Getty Images)

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