(CNN) – President Joe Biden apologized to other world leaders on Monday for the Trump administration’s decision to exit the Paris climate agreement, saying during the United Nations’ climate summit that the US’ exit put the country behind in its climate goals.
“I guess I shouldn’t apologize, but I do apologize for the fact that the United States — the last administration pulled out of the Paris accord. It put us sort of behind the eight ball a little bit,” the President said during a session on “action and solidarity” at the summit in Glasgow.
The President announced the US would rejoin the Paris accords hours after he was sworn into office in January.
During the session, Biden also said “the American people, four or five years ago, weren’t at all sure about climate change, whether it was real.”
“Well, they have, as they say in southern parts of my state, ‘seen the lord.’ They’ve seen what’s happened back home. The incredible changes that are taking place. And they’re now finally … seeing the sense of urgency that you all are,” Biden continued.
In his earlier opening remarks at the summit, Biden issued a plea and a warning to global leaders to take forceful action on climate change, even as his own climate ambitions hang in the balance.
“Right now, we’re still falling short. There’s no time to hang back, sit on the fence or argue amongst ourselves,” Biden said. “This is the challenge of our collective lifetime — the existential threat to human existence as we know it. And every day we delay, the cost of inaction increases. So let this be the moment that we answer history’s call here in Glasgow.”
The President said “the eyes of history upon us,” adding, “We only have a brief window before us to raise our ambitions and to raise to meet the task that’s rapidly narrowing. This is a decisive decade in which we have an opportunity to prove ourselves.”
Biden, who is hoping to galvanize other countries to take steps in reducing emissions and keeping global temperature rise in check, told the group, “We can keep the goal of limiting global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius within our reach if we come together. If we commit to doing our part with each of our nations with determination and with ambition.” He said the Glasgow summit “must be the kickoff of a decade of ambition and innovation to preserve our shared future.”
With the United Nations Climate Change conference underway in Glasgow, ABC White House Correspondent Karen Travers tells The Morning Show with guest host Chris Merrill what Biden hopes to accomplish and what he hopes other countries will invest in.
The Morning Show guest host Chris Merrill reviews President Biden’s comments among world leaders gathering in Glasgow for the COP26 UN climate conference. Hear why making a noticeable difference in climate change will be extremely difficult.