Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Milwaukee Mayor Barrett presenting at global climate summit in Chicago

Milwaukee Mayor Barrett presenting at global climate summit in Chicago

Though Obama avoided direct criticism of Trump, Emanuel was eager to denounce the current president, like many Americans of color whose livelihood has been choked by his administration.

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.

During the UN climate change conference in Germany last month, some 20 USA states, 110 cities and more than 1,400 businesses - which they said represented a bigger economy than any nation outside the U.S. and China - pledged to honor the commitment made in Paris.

Chicago is committing to electric cars and renewable energy as cities step up to fulfill an global climate change deal the US has spurned.

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"From closing coal plants, to investing in electric vehicles and public transportation, to reducing electricity usage in our buildings, to updating streetlights across the city, Chicago is showcasing to the world the impact that cities can have on climate change for their residents and for people around the world", Emanuel said in a statement.

Obama said despite President Donald Trump's plan to withdraw from the landmark United Nations agreement to limit the rise in global temperatures, the USA remained on track to meet its targets. The U.S. won't technically back out until 2020 because of legal technicalities.

"You may withdraw", says Emanuel, referring to Trump pulling out of the Paris Agreement.

Anne McKibbin of Chicago's Elevate Energy calls the act more than symbolic. Continuing to fight climate change "makes business sense", he added. "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.

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"Climate change can be solved by human action", he said. "I applaud Mayor Barrett for taking aggressive steps to bring down carbon emissions levels".

Mayors from 51 cities including Paris, Mexico City, San Francisco and Phoenix attended the summit.

Cities from across the US -including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington-have all said they will commit to lowering their carbon footprint and take action on their own without President Trump.

"We live in a time when everything is contested - and so often because of the splintering of our media, it is possible to only occupy a world in which the facts that come in conform to your pre-existing conceptions", he said.

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