The executive branch of the federal government has been stubborn in its opposition to fighting climate change, but at the local level, many U.S. cities are taking climate matters into their own hands. According to The Hill, 10 more cities have joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in signing the Chicago Climate Charter, a pledge to fight climate change in spite of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris agreement. There are now 67 cities on board.
“While the Trump administration continues to bury their heads deeper in the sand when it comes to climate change, local leaders are confronting the challenge head-on,” Emanuel said.
Louisville, Ky.; San Jose, Calif.; Saint Paul, Minn.; and Boulder, Colo. were among the new cities joining Chicago’s pledge to reduce its carbon footprint. The Chicago Climate Charter has also been endorsed by the leaders of several major cities outside the United States, including Mexico City, Vancouver, and Paris.
Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris agreement in June. At that time, he argued that the climate commitment was unfair to Americans “at the highest level.” This made the U.S. the only country in the world to oppose the agreement; Nicaragua and Syria, two other notable skeptics, ultimately decided to get on board in late 2017.
Even with Trump opposed, leaders of local governments across America have remained optimistic that they can do their part to combat climate change. Crain’s Chicago Business noted that former President Barack Obama has been a key figure rallying support for this movement. In an event in Chicago earlier this month promoting the Chicago Climate Charter, he opined in a speech that cities, states, businesses and nonprofits are the new faces of American leadership on climate change.
Chicago has been aggressive about leading by example when it comes to climate change. Originally, the hope was that Chicago could be procuring 100 percent renewable energy for its municipal electricity needs by 2025. Emanuel has since shortened that timeline to 2022. Additionally, he’s encouraging local government organizations to use cleaner fuels for diesel trucks and buses.