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Mayors unite in Chicago-led effort to confront climate change

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Obama dropped in to support more than 50 mayors signing on to confront climate change

Obama waves on stage to a crowd at the North American Climate Summit in Chicago
Obama speaks to mayors attending the North American Climate Summit event in Chicago on Tuesday
Facebook/Chicago Mayor’s Office

Former President Barack Obama made an appearance at a Chicago climate event showing his support for more than 50 mayors that signed an agreement to combat climate change on Tuesday.

Obama spoke to mayors in attendance for about 15 minutes acknowledging the difficulty of addressing climate change now that the U.S. does not belong to the Paris agreement. He said the solution “was going to be up to all of us,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Chicago Climate Charter represents cities around the world that want to “confront climate change head-on,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a statement. “Even as Washington fails to act, cities have the power and will to take decisive action to protect our planet and the health and safety of our residents."

More than 377 mayors have committed to the initiatives in the Paris Agreement, despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw, the mayor’s office said. The charter signals that cities are engaged and eager to take steps towards a more sustainable way of living. What that means is investing in public transportation to reduce the carbon footprint, accelerating affordable renewable energy access and making city infrastructure more sustainable.

Mayor Emanuel has continued to push his way forward in city sustainability and environmental protections. In the past few years he’s introduced programs to increase the number of highly energy-efficient buildings, update city street lights with LEDs, and power public buildings with 100 percent renewable energy.