Obama: Cities, states new climate change leaders

Barack Obama in Paris

Trump announced in June that he was withdrawing the US from the climate accord.

CBS News had all eyes on Chicago, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel hosted a summit of mayors from all major cities on Tuesday.

One of the signors, Mayor Cindy Perry of Pittsboro, N.C., population 4,200, said her city was just beginning to discuss climate change.

He briefly spoke Tuesday to a summit of mayors from around the world gathered in Chicago to address concerns about climate change since President Donald Trump rejected the Paris climate accord.

The former President said jokingly that he was "in the neighbourhood" and made a decision to drop by and he was applauded vigorously several times during his relatively brief remarks, in which he spoke about some of his administration's achievements in protecting the environment.

"Each mayor is going to sign their own customized plan on how they are going to achieve the 2025 Paris Agreement", Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is hosting the climate summit, told USA TODAY.

Officials are billing the North American Climate Summit that began Monday as the first of its kind for the city. "Obviously we're in an unusual time when the United States is now the only nation on earth that does not belong to the Paris agreement", Obama said.

One part of the Paris Agreement that big cities won't be able to duplicate: contributing billions of dollars that the U.S.

At a conference of mayors in Chicago, Mr. Obama congratulated himself Tuesday for strong employment numbers in the US this year, saying his climate-change policies have contributed to growth.

"We stand shoulder to shoulder with all of the USA cities and mayors that are committed to the Paris agreement", said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, who added that President Trump should listen to the mayors on the issue of climate change.

The preamble to the Chicago Climate Charter the participating mayors signed on Tuesday read: "President Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement spurred over 380 cities in the US, numerous cities in other parts of North America, and countless organizations worldwide to commit themselves to the Agreement". When a reporter asked Canadian mayors what message they had for Trump, Emanuel interjected: "Can I take that question too?"

Some mayors have specifically agreed to commitments to expand public transportation and invest in natural climate solutions such as tree canopy and vegetation.

The draft charter includes language nodding to such criticism and highlighting the need to include "voices that have not been traditionally a part of discussions regarding climate change".

Although cities leaders believe their collective efforts can help the USA meet the previously-agreed upon benchmark, Biskupski said that the municipal officials need federal commitment on stemming climate change. The statement was, seemingly, a public reference to a "Thanks, Obama" meme that conservatives have used to mock the former commander-in-chief for certain policies in the past, The Independent reported.

President Donald Trump said in June that the USA will withdraw from the Paris climate accord. "Western cities across North American are dealing with longer and harsher wild fire seasons". He said the most important work addressing climate change isn't being done at the level of national leaders, but is being done on the ground.

Chicago's Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Wheat says the idea is to "fill the void" the Trump administration has left.

Related News: