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Obama: US opting out of Paris agreement 'a hard position to defend'

07 December 2017
Obama: US opting out of Paris agreement 'a hard position to defend'

Obama spoke for about 15 minutes at the North American Climate Summit in Chicago, which was hosted by his former chief of staff and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D).

He also said that "a conveyor belt of some of the strongest hurricanes on record this summer smashed into Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico, and more than two months later they are still struggling to recover".

Earlier this year, Trump declared that the US would no longer be a part of the landmark 2015 accord with 196 countries, claiming the non-binding agreement imposed unfair standards on American businesses and workers.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that with or without U.S. participation, the world will continue moving forward towards the Paris goals.

Despite Trump's unwillingness to participate until the agreement is renegotiated, individual American companies - along with USA states and cities - have stepped up their commitment to the deal.

It has until 2020 to adopt the Paris climate agreement and act in accordance with the objectives of the treaty. Former President Obama, who signed the Paris Agreement, is scheduled to address the mayors at the summit Tuesday.

"And cities and states and businesses and universities and nonprofits have emerged as the new face of American leadership on climate change".

"Climate change can be solved by human action", he said.

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. "We're on that path and we know our American sisters and brothers are".

"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.

Emanuel said the current resident of the White House - not mentioning Trump by name - and his environmental officials are in denial on climate change despite facts.

The Trump administration has made multiple decisions to end or reverse Obama-era policies focused on combatting climate change.

"You may withdraw", says Emanuel, referring to Trump pulling out of the Paris Agreement. 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.

The earliest the U.S. can withdraw from the Paris agreement is November 2020.