Billionaire environmentalist called Paris climate agreement one of Obama's "signature achievements"
Steyer said he'll keep working to protect environment, despite Trump's pro-drilling agenda
Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer praised President Obama Sunday, calling the Paris climate agreement one of his “signature achievements” in office.
In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Steyer, who has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on climate change activism, commended what he called Obama’s “moral, intellectual and economic leadership” in helping to ratify the landmark emissions-cutting climate deal.
“It said something about where the United States stands in the world, where we choose to stand, where we’ve traditionally stood. It it was something that he should be very, very proud of,” Steyer said.
Despite the fact that President-elect Donald Trump has said he will reverse many of the executive actions on climate change plans and emissions, including the Paris Agreement, Steyer insisted he still had hope.
“The strongest power of the American people is the will of the American people,” Steyer said.
“If the American people understand what’s going on and the consequences of what’s going on, they’ll realize that their future is at stake,” he said.
Steyer, who donated almost $70 million to the Clinton campaign, acknowledged he was “surprised and disappointed” by the outcome of the election. As for Trump’s campaign promise to encourage more drilling and revive the country’s ailing coal industry, Steyer said that “people have refused to look the facts in the face.”
“There are fewer than 75,000 coal miners in the United States of America. The whole United States of America. Just in my home state of California, there are probably 550,000 people working in clean energy” he said.
“Clean energy is actually something that creates a lot more jobs,” he added.
Steyer also insisted that the cost of clean energy “either will be, or already is, cheaper than fossil fuels in most of the United States.”
“There is a myth that somehow we’re going to be more prosperous if we just go backwards,” Steyer said.
“And I would ask you, when is the last time we got more prosperous by going back to old technologies and turning away from the innovation, the entrepreneurship and the skill of American business? I just don’t think that makes any sense” he said.