(UPI) — Former President Barack Obama on Friday said the Paris Agreement “is giving our children a fighting chance” even if there is “a little bit of a pause in American leadership,” one of a number of veiled jabs at President Donald Trump during a leadership forum in New Delhi, India.
Obama addressed the current administration’s decision to withdraw from the agreement signed by 195 countries to restrict carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases that scientists say contribute to global warming.
“It is an agreement that — even though we have a little bit of a pause in American leadership — is giving our children a fighting chance,” he said.
“And the good news is that in the United States, there are states, companies and universities and cities that are continuing to work to make sure that America lives up to that agreement that we made in the Paris accords.”
Trump, in June, announced his intentions to pull out of the pact, saying it punishes the United States. He said he wanted to renegotiate the deal, but other signatories said they would not.
Trump, who called climate change a “hoax” during his presidential campaign, said the Paris Agreement is a “bad deal” for the U.S. economy.
Obama said he “can have a debate with someone about climate change and about what we need to do, but if you call climate change a hoax, I don’t know what to do with that.”
Though he never mentioned Trump by name, Obama took a number of shots at the sitting president, including his use of Twitter. Obama said he has more followers than “other people who use it more often.”
He encouraged using spellcheck, good punctuation and common sense.
“Have a little bit of an edit function, think before you speak, think before you tweet,” Obama said.
Trump, who has 43.7 million followers to Obama’s 97.4 million, often uses Twitter as a form of communication with the American people.
Trump’s Twitter use caused some backlash earlier this week when he retweeted three videos purporting to show Muslims engaging in violence. Some critics called the tweets “anti-Muslim,” while others questioned their authenticity.
Obama also encouraged religious tolerance in India, where there has been tension between the Hindu majority and Muslims and other minority religions.
“A country shouldn’t be divided on sectarian lines and that is something I have told Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi in person,” Obama said. “People see the differences between each other much too vividly and miss the commonalities.
“For a country like India where there is a Muslim population that is successful, integrated and considers itself as Indian, which is not the case in some other countries, this should be nourished and cultivated.”
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