Former US President Barack Obama today lamented the lack of US leadership in the fight against climate change and, not to mention his successor Donald Trump, who dismantled his environmental policies, said the country is “in a difficult position to defend”.
“We are in an unusual moment, where the United States is the only nation on earth that does not belong to the Paris Agreement,” Obama said during a summit of 51 mayors from the United States, Canada, Mexico and France, which takes place in Chicago. .
“But the good news is that the Paris Agreement was not going to solve only the climate crisis, and now you are,” he said about the meeting in which a series of commitments were signed today to meet the global goals of control of the polluting gases.
The mayors who participated in the two-day meeting convened by this city are opposed to Trump’s decision to abandon the commitment signed by 195 countries to control the pollution caused by toxic gases.
Dressed casually, Obama was introduced by the mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, who was his first White House chief of staff and now invited him to talk about 15 minutes off the agenda.
“I was in the neighborhood and decided to sneak into this party,” said Obama, who was applauded and cheered several times when he spoke of some achievements of his government in protecting the environment.
Without naming his successor, Obama said it was important to “keep our word” on the international stage, because the United States assumed commitments and a world leadership in the fight against a problem that “grows faster than our efforts to control it.”
According to the former president, in the absence of governmental leadership, cities, states, companies, universities and non-profit organizations have emerged as “the new face” of the American struggle to combat global warming.
Trump decided the exit of the Paris Agreement, considered the most important environmental achievement due to its global reach and its long-term objectives, arguing that it was disadvantageous for the country.
Hours before Obama’s intervention, during the signing of the Chicago Climate Charter, Mayor Emanuel said that “instead of burying our heads in the sand, we have worked with cities in the country and the world to face the threat of change climate”.
As reported, this letter, which would be the first of its kind in the world, represents tens of millions of people who are committed to maintaining the fight against the so-called greenhouse effect.
“Even if Washington stops acting, the cities have the power and will take decisive measures to protect our planet and the health and safety of its residents,” added the Mayor of Chicago.
Among other measures, the signatory mayors commit themselves to reduce carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, and to quantify, monitor and publicize emissions from cities.
Also, advocate for greater local authority and flexibility to develop laws that empower cities to take aggressive measures on climate.
Other measures refer to the incorporation of the reality of climate change and its impact on local infrastructure and emergency planning, and support for private initiatives that encourage the transition to a new climate-related economy.
“Cities are involved and ready to take decisive action,” says a summit statement.
He also adds that many leaders “will make individual and specific commitments to combat climate change.”
Among these commitments is to invest in public transport systems that reduce environmental impact, accelerate economic access to renewable sources of energy and reduce the pollution produced by existing public and private buildings and infrastructures.
The Mayor of Paris (France), Anne Hidalgo, took part in the two-day conference, together with the mayors Miguel Ángel Mancera and Enrique Alfaro Ramírez, from the cities of Mexico and Guadalajara, respectively; the Canadians Valérie Plante, from Montreal, and Gregor Robertson, from Vancouver, plus another 50 members of the Global Covenant of Mayors (Global Compact of Mayors).
“This summit sends a message to leaders around the world, that cities are taking quick measures to reduce the greenhouse effect,” the deputy president of the pact, Christiana Figueres, said in the statement.
After Trump’s announcement about the US withdrawal from the agreement, initiatives to maintain and redouble support have emerged in cities across the country and around the world.
One of them is America’s Pledge, headed by the former mayor of New York, Michael R. Bloomberg, who declared today that the Chicago Charter was “a great example” of how cities can work together, “encouraging each other, and pointing high to combat climate change. ”
“With or without Washington’s participation, we will continue to move towards the Paris goals,” added Bloomberg, co-president of America’s Pledge along with California Governor Jerry Brown.
After China, USA It is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.