City Leaders Sign 'Chicago Charter' in Paris Agreement Void

December 4-6, Chicago played host to the North American Climate Summit in concert with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. There, city leaders signed the "Chicago Charter," an agreement that broadly echoes the Paris climate agreement in establishing carbon emissions reductions.

57 cities from around the world signed the Chicago Charter on Tuesday, Dec. 5. Those signatories include New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington. Mayors from Mexico City, Vancouver and Paris were also involved.

According to a press release from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, by signing the Chicago Climate Charter, cities are pledging to the following:

  • Achieve a percent reduction in carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement 
  • Quantify, track and publicly report city emissions, consistent with standards and best practices of measurement and transparency
  • Advocate alongside other mayors for greater local authority and flexibility to develop policies and local laws that empower cities to take aggressive action on climate
  • Recognize and include groups traditionally underrepresented in climate policy
  • Incorporate the realities of climate change and its impacts into local infrastructure and emergency planning through strategies of adaptation and resilience
  • Support strong regional, state and federal policies and partnerships, as well as private sector initiatives, that incentivize the transition to a new climate economy
  • Partner with experts, communities, businesses, environmental justice groups, advocates and other allies to develop holistic climate mitigation and resilience solutions

"Each mayor is going to sign their own customized plan on how they are going to achieve the 2025 Paris Agreement,” Emanuel told USA Today. “We’re all going to get to the same destination in our own individual way. It’s designed in such a way that it’s measurable.”

On June 1, 2017, President Trump announced the United States would pull out of the Paris climate agreement, and today, the United States is the only country in the world that is not participating in the agreement. It has been a highly controversial decision among environmental advocates and those seeking to limit the adverse effects of climate change.

The same day Trump made his announcement, mayors from around the country signed a statement on to adopt, honor and uphold goals of the Paris climate agreement. As of Nov. 29, 385 mayors had signed the statement. The Chicago Charter is a formal commitment; however, since the "Climate Mayors" movement began, many cities have taken action on clean energy goals.

After the announcement that the United States would pull out of the Paris agreement, Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg formed America’s Pledge on Climate, which aggregates and quantifies all U.S. climate action to submit to the United Nations. Brown and Bloomberg met with United Nation members to reaffirm commitments to the Paris agreement, and Commitments made by U.S. cities to the Chicago Climate Charter are in support of America’s Pledge.

Since Trump announced the United States would leave the Paris agreement, the administration has primarily focused on other issues, such as healthcare and taxes. However, on Nov. 3, the administration released a report stating it was "extremely likely" humans cause climate change and that there is "no convincing alternative explanation." The administration has since not taken any further action on climate.

About the Author

Timothy Johnson


Timothy Johnson is the former digital editor for ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine.

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