Obama to address mayors' summit on climate change in Chicago today

Calvin Saunders
December 8, 2017

Former U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the conference yesterday.

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Lord Mayor Isaya Mwita Charles signs the Chicago Climate Charter at the North American Climate Summit at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago.

Obama ratified the Paris agreement in 2015, and President Trump said in June that the USA would pull out of it. Syria recently said that it planned to join the accord, making the US the only nation in the world that doesn't belong to it, which Obama said is a "difficult position to defend".

While the Chicago charter calls on participating cities to set their own standards to reduce emissions, it's not clear whether such local action will be able to offset federal shortcomings or how local governments will be held to their commitments.

But Rahm Emanuel, Chicago's mayor and the host of the meeting, said the agreement here offered more specific emissions reduction goals and a mechanism for reporting cities' progress.

Emanuel said Trump and his environmental officials are in denial on climate change.

In June, Trump announced the U.S' withdrawal from the historic global climate agreement reached in 2015, joining only two countries, Syria and Nicaragua, in rejecting the deal. His decision marked a major setback to worldwide efforts to combat climate change and placed the U.S.in opposition to the stance of some of the country's closest foreign allies.

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Dozens of mayors from around the world signed a "Chicago Climate Charter" on Tuesday at a summit created to address concerns following President Donald Trump's rejection of the Paris climate accord. 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.

Many big city American mayors pilloried Trump as being shortsighted.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said city residents will be victims as a result.

Former President Barack Obama jokingly thanked himself in a speech Tuesday while outlining the economic achievements of his administration.

"Climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it", said Obama, who noted that his administration's effort to deal with the issue "wasn't because of some ideological notions about the environment".

The charter will succeed within American cities and states, the only thing it will have difficulty duplicating from the Paris Agreement is the aid of billions of dollars to other countries.

Some mayors see climate change as a rallying cry for anti-Trump sentiment.

. "Western cities across North American are dealing with longer and harsher wild fire seasons". Literally. He says at one point that even the Paris Agreement can't save us from the dooms of climate change, but it can delay it and make it better for coming generations. "Thanks, Obama", he said, as the audience burst into laughter and applause. He says mayors will sign a charter and discuss solutions including expanding access to public transportation.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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