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Rahm Says Chicago Will Follow Paris Accord Guidelines In Wake Of Trump's Surprising Withdrawal

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Jun 7, 2017 9:31PM

Photo: Tyler LaRiviere / People's Climate March, April, 2017

In the wake of President Donald Trump's surprise withdrawal of the U.S. from the landmark climate protection agreement the Paris Accord, hundreds of U.S. cities have voiced their support of the agreement, including Chicago.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel just signed an executive order committing Chicago to following the Paris agreement's environmental protection guidelines, meaning the city will continue to make an effort to reduce its carbon footprint by limiting greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating their effects on the environment. One could call the gesture symbolic, since the city was already committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent from the year 2005 to 2025 under the previous Obama presidential administration. But Emanuel said in a statement that it's important to show the world that the city still cares about the problem of climate change.

"Chicago has proven you can create jobs while reducing your carbon footprint, and we will continue to do both,” Emanuel said. “As the Trump administration pulls back we will push forward and reduce our fair share of carbon emissions in line with the Paris Accord. The world is depending on cities in the U.S. to take up the mantle of leadership on climate change. Chicago is accepting that challenge."

The mayor's executive order also includes a promise to measure city greenhouse gas emissions every other year, starting next year with 2017's numbers. It also asks city departments to develop and accelerate plans to help Chicago meet its goals, and commits to consulting environmental experts to help departments do this:

"The Mayor's Office will seek input from Sister Agencies, environmental advocates, environmental justice groups, community organizations, scientific experts, other cities, state actors, and the business community on efforts to collectively reduce Chicago's greenhouse gas emissions," a Wednesday afternoon press release says.

So far, the city has a track record of reducing emissions. As the Mayor's Office points out, the city reduced emissions by 7 percent from 2010 to 2015—"the equivalent to shutting down a coal power plant for eight months," the press release claims. Earlier this year the city announced that all public buildings would be converted to 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.

The executive order is part of a national campaign called “We’re Still In” that is meant to show support for the Paris Accord.