Former President Barack Obama criticized the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord in a speech where he also warned about the increasing attacks against democracy by “aggressive” nationalists.
“What we will see is more and more people arguing against democracy, we will see more and more people who are looking to restrict freedom of the press, and we’ll see more intolerance, more tribal divisions, more ethnic divisions, and religious divisions and more violence,” Obama said in a speech in Indonesia Saturday.
Just one problem exists with his rhetoric: there was nothing democratic about joining the Paris accord.
Obama joined the Paris accord in 2016, but did so unilaterally without getting advice and consent from the Senate as required by the U.S. Constitution. The Obama administration argued that the Paris accord wasn’t a treaty and didn’t need legislative approval.
The Obama administration wanted to avoid the Paris accord being struck down by a Republican-controlled Senate, so diplomats based the Paris accord on non-binding targets set by signatory nations.
In contrast, most other countries that joined the Paris accord got legislative approval. For example, Fiji, the first country to ratify Paris, had to get legislative approval before it could ratify the Paris accord in 2016.
President Donald Trump recently announced that he would withdraw from the Paris agreement, largely justifying his decision on economic grounds. Trump said that the Paris accord would amount in a transfer of wealth from the U.S. to its economic competitors.
Now, Obama is firing back at Trump for wanting to bail on a signature part of his presidential legacy. Obama said that Paris gave future generations a “fighting chance” against global warming.
“In Paris, we came together around the most ambitious agreement in history about climate change, an agreement that, even with the temporary absence of American leadership, can still give our children a fighting chance,” Obama said.
“The world is at a crossroads,” Obama said in his speech, which didn’t mention Trump by name but was clearly meant to target the current president.
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