Obama expected to address mayors' summit on climate change

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Leaders attending the North American Climate Summit in Chicago this week signed a charter aligning with the commitments of the Paris Climate Agreement, despite President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the accords earlier this year.

Obama, who did not mention Trump by name, made a quick appearance at the conference hosted by his former chief of staff, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Obama didn't mention Trump by name, saying only that the US was in an "unusual" position as the sole country to reject the Paris agreement. "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. "Cities and states and businesses and universities and nonprofits have emerged as the new face of American leadership on climate change".

Chicago officials are billing the summit as the first of its kind in the city and Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he's honoured Obama will join. Leaders elsewhere have taken similar action, despite Trump's announcement earlier this year that the US would pull out of the 2015 Paris agreement, which involves nations setting benchmarks to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases. Under Obama the US economy grew at an average of 2.1 percent, although some quarters saw three percent growth.

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

Chicago is pursuing policies that will require large buildings to track and disclose their energy consumption, put more electric cars in the city's fleet, power all municipal buildings with renewable energy, and expand the environmental protection unit within the city's Department of Public Health. Continuing to fight climate change "makes business sense", he added.

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The Chicago Climate Charter, signed Tuesday, commits cities to carbon emissions reductions in line with the Paris accords.

Barrett said he would be discussing Milwaukee's action on climate change.

Emanuel says the participating mayors are filling a leadership void created by Trump by signing a first-of-its-kind worldwide charter agreement aligned to the Paris climate agreement that commits their cities to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming and outlines specific plans for meeting the carbon emission reduction targets by 2025. The mayor didn't say how, exactly, that will be achieved, reports JDM.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said city residents will be the victims if action isn't taken.

"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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