Former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers says “This is the biggest US foreign policy error since entering the Iraq War.”
Those are the harsh words of former U. S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers after President Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Deal.
“Unlike the Iraq War, [the decision] will be felt a century from now, ” Summers told CNN’s Richard Quest on “Quest Means Business.” The interview aired shortly after Trump made the formal announcement to pull out .
Summers is a Democrat who served in top economic posts under both President Clinton and President Obama.
“I never thought I would say these words, but the president of the United States is a clear and present danger to an orderly global system, ” he said.
Business leaders have slammed Trump for the decision. Tesla CEO Elon Musk was so upset that he resigned from Trump’s business advisory council. Even big energy companies like Exxon Mobil were urging the president to stay in the Paris deal.
Related: Top CEOs tell CEO president: You’re wrong on Paris
Trump says the deal is a jobs killer, but many economists like Summers argue that’s not true. They point out that America has a lot more solar jobs (over 200,000) than coal jobs (under 55,000) . Solar jobs are growing 17 times faster than the U. S. economy, according to a recent International Renewable Energy Agency report.
“We’re going to be poorer because we took this step, ” Summers said. He and other economists fear that the green energy jobs and technologies of the future will be created in other countries now.
Exiting the Paris deal is both an economic and a political mistake, he said.
“This is the day when the United States did a lot to forfeit its claim to be a leader among nations, ” Summers said.
Only three nations on the planet that are not part of the deal: The United States, Syria and Nicaragua.
Summers noted that he never thought he would see the day when Exxon was more progressive than the White House on climate change.