Obama expected to address mayors' summit on climate change

US Withdrawing From Paris Climate Agreement

Obama ratified the Paris agreement in 2015, and President Trump said in June that the US would pull out of it. Syria recently said that it planned to join the accord, making the USA the only nation in the world that doesn't belong to it, which Obama said is a "difficult position to defend".

Former President Barack Obama on Tuesday told a summit of mayors driven to act after President Donald Trump rejected the Paris climate accord that cities and states are the "new face of American leadership" on climate change.

The former president said that climate change should be an "obsession" for Americans and having a plan to address it, he said, should be a "prerequisite" for anyone running for office.

"Obviously, we're in an unusual time when the United States is now the only nation on Earth that does not belong to the Paris Agreement", Obama continued.

"We stand shoulder to shoulder with all of the USA cities and mayors that are committed to the Paris Agreement", said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, who added that Trump should listen to the mayors on the issue of climate change.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, (center) with other mayors from the U.S., Mexico and Canada at the summit, says, "There is an absence of leadership out of Washington" on climate change.

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"But the good news is that the Paris agreement was never going to solve the climate crisis on its own", Obama stated. Some mayors have specifically agreed to commitments to expand public transportation and invest in natural climate solutions such as tree canopy and vegetation.

The Chicago agreement includes a committment to reducing carbon emissions, reporting and tracking city emissions, and developing city-specific climate programs and policies, among other pledges.

Former US President Barack Obama has spoken of his frustration that America is pulling out of the 2015 climate accord.

Though Obama avoided direct criticism of Trump, Emanuel was eager to denounce the current president, like many Americans of color whose livelihood has been choked by his administration. Nevertheless, in May 2017, Iran unveiled the National Strategic Plan on Climate Change, which outlines the role of every government sector in reducing Iran's carbon emissions and measures to mitigate the impacts of a warming planet on various sectors, including health and agriculture. Trump has said the terms of the agreement should be more favourable to businesses and taxpayers.

Dressed casually in a jacket but no tie, Obama was introduced by Emanuel, who was his first White House Chief of Staff and had invited him to speak for 15 minutes off the meeting's official agenda.

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