Ossoff: 'History will condemn us' over Trump decision to abandon Paris Agreement

Democrat Jon Ossoff. Bob Andres/AJC.

Credit: Greg Bluestein

Credit: Greg Bluestein

Democrat Jon Ossoff. Bob Andres/AJC.

Democrat Jon Ossoff said "history will condemn us" for President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, a move that could cripple the 2015 climate change accord embraced by much of the world.

"I agree with our military, our intelligence community, and peer-reviewed science that climate change is a major threat to our prosperity and our security, and if we walk away from this historic agreement now, history will condemn us," said Ossoff, adding that the "economic potential of clean energy technology" could help create new jobs.

Aides to Republican Karen Handel, his opponent in the June 20 runoff, did not respond to multiple requests for comment about the accords. The two are squaring off in a nationally-watched battle for the 6th District, which spans from east Cobb to north DeKalb.

Trump pledged during his campaign to abandon the landmark agreement, but debate over whether to make good on that promise has deeply divided his administration.

Several of his top deputies, including senior White House adviser Steve Bannon, pressed him to withdraw from the deal over concerns it could hobble the U.S. economy. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other prominent Trump allies lobbied the president to let the U.S. remain a part of the agreement.

Abandoning it could imperil the 195-nation pact, which was legally ratified last year, by encouraging other countries that only reluctantly signed the agreement to roll back their commitments to cut pollution that contributes to climate change.

The divide has provoked debate among some leading Georgia politicians. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who traveled to Paris in 2015 to participate in the negotiations, said in a statement that the city would "intensify" its efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

And state Rep. Scott Holcomb, a DeKalb Democrat, warned that Trump’s withdrawal sends a signal “that the rest of the world better fall into line with what he wants.”

"It's a mistake," said Holcomb. "America alone is not in our national interest."

State Sen. Josh McKoon, a Columbus Republican, said in a tweet that it should be up to the U.S. Senate to decide the agreement’s fate. “The ‘agreement’ has never been submitted to the US Senate for ratification,” he said.