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June 01, 2017

Philly, other cities to defy Trump's decision on Paris accord

Steel City's mayor mocks Trump's Pittsburgh comment on Twitter

As he announced the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement on Thursday, President Donald Trump said he was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.

Perhaps the Steel City was a bad example.

Pittsburgh's Democratic Mayor, Bill Peduto, soon tweeted that some 80 percent of Pittsburgh voters had, in fact, chosen Hillary Clinton for president last November.

He also said he and other mayors will pick up the slack on reducing carbon emissions that exacerbate climate change.

"The United States joins Syria, Nicaragua and Russia in deciding not to participate with [the] world's Paris Agreement," he tweeted Thursday afternoon. "It's now up to cities to lead."

Peduto and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney are among 61 defiant city leaders who pledged Thursday to uphold the Paris accord in their cities, even if the White House is no longer on board.

The group, which calls themselves the Climate Mayors, also includes the mayors of New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and other major cities around the country.

"The president's denial of global warming is getting a cold reception from America's cities," the group wrote in a statement.

Peduto joined a number of mayors and other leaders from around the country who blasted Trump's decision on social media.

While Kenney opted to instead address the issue as part of a press release posted on the city's website, the mayor said he would continue the city's efforts to reduce carbon emissions between 26 and 28 percent by 2025, which would follow a pledge set by former President Barack Obama, who brought the country into the Paris Climate Agreement.

It will take nearly four years for the country to withdraw from the pact.

Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, Trump said the U.S. will negotiate to either re-enter the Paris pact or join a new treaty on terms that would better suit American businesses and taxpayers.

"If we can, that's great," Trump said. "And if we can't, that's fine."

“President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement goes against the interests of Philadelphians," Kenney said in the release. "My administration is now committed to upholding at the local level the very same commitment made by the United States in the Paris climate agreement."

Kenney added that the city is staying the course on a long-term goal to reduce its carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050.

“Philadelphia is already dealing with the consequences of climate change, such as hotter summers and heavier rainstorms,” Christine Knapp, Philly's director of sustainability, said in a statement. "Local progress on climate change will improve Philadelphia’s economy, reduce illnesses caused by air pollution, and help protect our residents.”

City officials also laid out a list of planned strategies and initiatives to reduce its carbon emissions in its release, and they pointed out an action guide that includes quick facts, resources and ways residents can live a more environment-friendly lifestyle. The guide will be updated to reflect Trump's decision, officials said.