Hundreds of US mayors bypass President Donald Trump to back Paris accord

June 27, 2017 10:30 pm

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed

Hundreds of mayors have agreed to respect a landmark 2015 global pact to fight climate change despite President ’s move to withdraw from the deal, a official says.
In a meeting in the Belgium capital Brussels on Tuesday, Kasim Reed, the mayor of the southern US city of Atlanta, said that Republican and Democratic mayors from 300 US cities had unanimously agreed a day earlier to back the Paris Climate Agreement, disregarding Trump’s decision to pull out of the international pact.
Reed added that he wanted to send a signal of “optimism, passion, and action” on fighting climate change to mayors worldwide despite the withdrawal the US president announced earlier this month.
“President Trump’s disappointing decision to withdraw from the agreement will actually have the opposite effect in terms of execution,” Reed said in an address to a handful of mayors from Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, and North America in the Tuesday meeting chaired by top European Union and United Nations officials.
“Right now you have a level of collaboration and focus and sharing of best practices that I haven’t seen,” he noted. “What we did not have really was the level of cooperation, passion, and intensity until we saw our president’s decision to withdraw.”

Special Envoy of the United Nations for Cities and Climate Change, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) is welcomed by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the European Commission in Brussels on June 27, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Gregor Robertson, the mayor of the Canadian city of Vancouver, said Trump should look north to see how voters in Canada had changed the political map of the country by changing leadership.
“The Trump administration had better watch out for US cities,” Robertson said. “They’re on the rise and I think will prevail in the end at turning the tide and making sure the US is a climate leader.”
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg also announced a $200 million plan intended to support innovative policies in American cities.
Washington’s pullout from the Paris climate deal has sparked international outrage and led to massive protests within the US.

Demonstrators protest President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out the US from Paris climate change agreement In Chicago on June 2, 2017. (Photo By AFP)

The Paris Climate Agreement seeks to halt average global warming at no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial temperatures by 2050. It also sets out a goal of reaching a limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius if possible.
Trump has taken a hard stance on climate change; at times calling it a hoax by China. He vowed during the election campaign to “cancel” the Paris agreement within 100 days of becoming president on January 20 in order to bolster US oil and coal giant, which bankrolled his campaign.
The Paris Climate Agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries in Paris and went into effect on November 4, 2016.
The decision to withdraw will put the in league with Nicaragua and Syria as the world’s only non-participants in the treaty. The US ranks just behind China in greenhouse gas emissions.
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