John Kerry: US 'will come back' to Paris climate accord

Trump decided in June to withdraw from agreement

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John Kerry

PARIS (CNN) - Former US Secretary of State John Kerry believes the US will "come back" to the Paris climate accord after President Donald Trump's decision in June to withdraw from the agreement.

Speaking to CNN at the One Planet Summit in Paris on Tuesday, Kerry said the US would "continue to be a leader in dealing with climate change."

"The official withdrawal doesn't take place until after the election of 2020," Kerry said before adding, "the United States will come back."

"President Trump has decided personally that he wants to get out, but the majority of the American people want to stay in," Kerry said, suggesting that the majority of states and cities in America "will live up to Paris."

Kerry joined French President Emmanuel Macron, who is hosting more than 50 heads of state and global leaders at the Paris summit, which is aimed at tackling climate change.

It was two years ago this week that representatives from close to 200 countries gathered in the French capital and pledged to take decisive action on climate change.

Trump's decision to withdraw made the US the lone holdout to the non-binding treaty, following the subsequent signing-on by Nicaragua and Syria, the only two countries to have initially not signed. Nearly 200 countries joined the pact in 2015.

Macron: 'We have a momentum'

Speaking to CBS on Monday, Macron said Trump's decision to withdraw had given momentum to those who back the treaty.

"I think today we have a momentum, because I think we have two phenomenon," he said.

"So the withdrawal of the US, which for me is a mistake, that equates an impulse for a lot of others to say, "So withdraw of the U.S., which for me is a mistake, that equates an impulse for a lot of others to say, "Okay, we have to react and do something, because it's impossible to leave this all to -- a sort of dismantling of the Paris Agreement."

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