Milwaukee Mayor Barrett presenting at global climate summit in Chicago

Frederick Owens
December 7, 2017

Dubbed the "Chicago Climate Charter", Plante and the more than 50 other mayors at the C40 conference are essentially committing to doing what Donald Trump has rejected: following the guidelines outset in the Paris Climate Accord.

"Global carbon emissions and global temperatures are still on the rise: 2015 was the warmest year on record until 2016 became the warmest on record", former President Barack Obama, who addressed the mayors who gathered to sign the climate agreement, said. "It increases public health risks like catastrophic floods and a host of other challenges", Barrett said in a news release. He said the most important work addressing climate change isn't being done at the level of national leaders but on the ground.

Despite Trump's unwillingness to participate until the agreement is renegotiated, individual American companies - along with U.S. states and cities - have stepped up their commitment to the deal. "And that's a hard position to defend".

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that with or without United States participation, the world will continue moving forward towards the Paris goals.

Chicago officials billed the North American Climate Summit, which began Monday evening, as the first of its kind for the city. "It was going to be up to all of us", Obama told the gathering of mayors from around the world who were there to sign the Chicago Climate Charter.

"The good news is that the Paris agreement was never going to solve the climate crisis on its own".

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"And cities and states and businesses and universities and nonprofits have emerged as the new face of American leadership on climate change".

The agreement requires the cities to track and publicly report city emissions, advocate for greater local authority and flexibility to take aggressive action on climate, and incorporate the realities of climate change and its impacts into local infrastructure and energy planning. We saw the longest streak of job creation in American history by far.

Obama did not mention President Trump by name, but urged officials in attendance to continue efforts to combat climate change, regardless of the current administration's position.

Obama spoke to mayors in attendance for about 15 minutes acknowledging the difficulty of addressing climate change now that the USA does not belong to the Paris agreement. "But we're all in on the Paris protocols". "As it relates to climate change, we can't afford, as leaders of our respective cities, the absence of leadership and the wrongheadedness of policy by President Trump".

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