Obama: 'Absence of American leadership' on climate

Barack Obama in Paris

Former President Barack Obama spoke Tuesday at a climate summit for mayors from around the world, saying the issue should be a top priority for local governments everywhere.

Obama didn't mention Trump by name, saying only that the US was in an "unusual" position as the sole country to reject the Paris agreement.

"All the USA cities signing the charter are making commitments in support of America's Pledge, which sends a strong signal to the world that we will keep moving forward toward our Paris goal, with or without Washington".

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Montreal mayor Valérie Plante is in Chicago to attend a two-day North American climate summit, which kicked off Monday evening and wraps up Tuesday.

"From closing coal plants, to investing in electric vehicles and public transportation, to reducing electricity usage in our buildings, to updating streetlights across the city, Chicago is showcasing to the world the impact that cities can have on climate change for their residents and for people around the world", Emanuel said in a statement.

While she braces for federal budget cuts, she says this could signal investment from elsewhere. The mayors signed a charter that echoes portions of the 2015 Paris agreement.

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Chicago officials said the idea is to fill the void left by the actions of Trump, who has worked to reverse much of Obama's approach to foreign policy.

Emanuel said Trump and his environmental officials are in denial on climate change.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee says rising water levels and affordable housing are concerns for his city.

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