Former President Barack Obama criticized President Donald Trump's June 1 announcement that he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Obama played an important role in sealing the deal in December 2015, which 197 countries around the world signed, according to the Washington Examiner.
But in announcing that U.S. obligations under the deal would end immediately, Trump described the provisions under the Paris Agreement as "unfair" to America.
"I believe the United States of America should be at the front of the pack," said Obama, according to the Examiner. "But even in the absence of American leadership; even as this administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I'm confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we've got."
The statement from Obama's office argued that "steady principled American leadership" had been required to reach the deal, which had been based on "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."
"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," Obama added.
Trump took a very different view of the 2015 agreement, stating that it was "another example of Washington entering an agreement that disadvantages the U.S.," according to the Independent.
Washington's formal withdrawal from the agreement will take four years.
Trump campaigned during the 2016 presidential election on a promise to pull out of the climate agreement. At the G7 summit in Italy in May, he refused to commit the U.S. to the deal, leaving him isolated among the other world leaders present.
Trump argued that the deal would put to much pressure on the U.S. coal industry and that the cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions would be too high.
Critics retorted that investments in renewable energy grew faster than they did in coal for the first time in 2015.
Trump noted in his June 1 statement that he would attempt to negotiate a fairer deal for the U.S.: "If we can get a deal, that's great. If not, that's fine."
However, this strategy suffered a setback when France, Germany and Italy issued a statement declaring that the Paris Agreement could not be renegotiated.