Former President Barack Obama took credit for the greenhouse gas emissions reductions that occurred under the Trump administration during a speech Monday.
Obama explained that U.S. emissions declined since he left office despite the presence of former President Donald Trump during his remarks delivered at the United Nations climate conference taking place in Glasgow, Scotland. Investment from the federal government made before Trump took office and efforts from state and local governments pushed clean energy development forward in the U.S., he added.
“The determination of our state and local governments, along with the regulations and investment that my administration had already put in place, allowed our country to keep moving forward despite hostility from the (Trump) White House,” Obama remarked.
“Despite four years of active hostility toward climate science coming from the very top of our federal government, the American people managed to still meet our original commitment under the Paris Agreement,” he continued.
The former president said that the $90 billion investment his administration made in renewables in 2009 helped “jumpstart” the U.S. clean energy industry. Businesses and consumers quickly adapted to renewables because of his policies, the former president said.
Although the Trump administration rolled back emissions requirements for automakers and cut regulations related to efficiency standards, the U.S. economy managed to “stay the course,” Obama continued.
U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have declined 3.7% even as energy output has increased 14% since 2015 when Obama signed the Paris climate accords along with most world leaders, according to International Energy Agency (IEA) data. The Trump administration pulled the U.S. out of the agreement shortly after taking office in early 2017.
Obama criticized Trump at the time, saying the U.S. was joining “a small handful of nations that reject the future,” The Guardian reported. But IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol commended the U.S. for its historic emissions reductions during a 2019 press conference alongside Trump’s Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
“In the last 10 years, the emissions reduction in the United States has been the largest in the history of energy,” Birol stated. “Almost 800 million tons. This is a huge decline of emissions.”
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