UPDATE: The Office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced this week that 10 additional cities have signed the Chicago Climate Charter, bringing the total number to 67 cities from around the globe.
The ten newest cities to commit to the charter are: Beaverton, OR; Boulder, CO; Fort Collins, CO; Iowa City, IA; Louisville, KY; Providence, RI; Reno, NV; San Jose, CA; Saint Paul, MN and Somerville, MA.
In a statement, Mayor Emanuel said, "the Trump administration continues to bury their heads deeper in the sand when it comes to climate change," a sentiment echoed by Beaverton, OR Mayor Denny Doyle. Due to this lack of federal support, it is expected that the number of cities to join the Chicago Climate Charter will grow.
The full list of signatories, and a copy of the charter, can be found here.
- At the North American Climate Summit in Chicago on Tuesday, dozens of mayors from around the globe signed the Chicago Climate Charter, as reported by The Washington Post and others.
- The charter is intended to guide cities in reaching greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals, similar to the Paris climate accord. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told USA Today that each mayor will pursue a customized plan, noting, "We're all going to get to the same destination in our own individual way."
- More than 50 mayors attended the event, including leaders from Paris, Phoenix, Mexico City and Pittsburgh, and it is estimated that approximately 57 mayors signed the charter.
On June 1, President Trump announced the U.S. would exit the Paris climate accord — otherwise known as the Paris Agreement — due to the "disadvantages" that the accord has on Americans. This decision sparked an uproar from climate leaders around the U.S. and the globe, especially mayors in cities that have long committed to reducing emissions. Almost immediately after Trump announced the decision, hundreds of mayors vowed to uphold the Paris accord goals, indicating that local-level leaders would push to combat climate change with or without support from the federal level.
The charter signed this week in Chicago was a formal commitment of these goals; however mayors have actively maintained a focus on reducing emissions since the June decision. Dozens of cities have committed to 100% clean and renewable energy goals and, in October, 12 major cities signed a declaration to promote clean transit through adoption of zero-emissions buses. Under the new charter, cities will be guided to make goals that are measurable and trackable, and share ideas on which efforts are impactful for both reaching targets and improving quality of life.
Despite its decision to reverse action on climate, the Trump administration released a report in November which indicated it is "extremely likely" that humans cause climate change, noting there is "no convincing alternative explanation" for global warming over the last century. During this week's event, Emanuel offered a different perspective and said, "Climate change can be solved by human action." Though skeptics will likely continue to doubt the impacts of changing global temperatures, the mayors that are pushing to combat the change will not easily give in — and, in due time, the actions of these mayors may pay off.