Chicago Climate Charter signed by more than 50 U.S. mayors

Dec. 6, 2017
This week in Chicago, attendees at the North American Climate Summit heard from former President Obama and collectively renewed their individual pledges to the Paris Agreement.

On Dec. 5, as host of the North American Climate Summit, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined municipal leaders from across the world, including Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Vice Chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors Christiana Figueres, to sign the Chicago Climate Charter, a first-of-its-kind international charter on climate change. Former U.S. President Barack Obama also addressed the group and commended them on the tangible steps that they are taking.

The Chicago Climate Charter will represent more than 50 cities, and tens of millions of people in cities across the world.

"Rather than burying our heads in the sand, Chicago is working with cities across the country and around the world to address the threat of climate change," said Mayor Emanuel. "The Chicago Climate Charter represents tens of million residents who are committed to confronting climate change head-on. Even as Washington fails to act, cities have the power and will to take decisive action to protect our planet and the health and safety of our residents."

At the North American Climate Summit, cities are taking action to articulate commitments to the Paris Agreement and highlight the scope and scale of city climate action in the United States following the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. By signing the Chicago Climate Charter, cities are pledging to:

  • 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; and
  • Partner with experts, communities, businesses, environmental justice groups, advocates and other allies to develop holistic climate mitigation and resilience solutions.

The signed charter will be available at

Cities are engaged and ready to take decisive action. Many local leaders will make individual and specific commitments to combat climate change. There are many specific pledges, including: investing in public transit systems to reduce the carbon footprint; providing safe public transportation and accessible land use; accelerating affordable renewable energy access; and reducing the carbon footprint in new and existing public and private buildings and infrastructure.

“The North American Climate Summit sends a timely message to leaders around the world that cities are taking strong, swift and measurable action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, ensure their communities are more resilient and transition their local economies to benefit from a low-carbon world,” said Global Covenant of Mayors Vice-Chair Christiana Figueres. “Cities and local governments have a critical role to play in stepping up ambition on climate change, and it is very encouraging to see so many coming to the table as we head into the 2018 'Take Stock' year.”

Since the Trump administration’s announcement to pull out of the Paris Agreement, cities across the United States and around of the world have shown their commitment to creating a truly sustainable future for their residents. America’s Pledge, an initiative led by former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and California Governor Jerry Brown, formally aggregates and quantifies all U.S. climate action to submit to the U.N. Commitments made by U.S. cities to the Chicago Climate Charter are in support of America’s Pledge.

"This Charter is a great example of how cities are working together and encouraging one another to aim higher, and it will add momentum to America's progress fighting climate change,” said America’s Pledge Co-Chair Mayor Bloomberg. “All the U.S. 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. I want to thank Mayor Emanuel for spearheading this effort and for leading by example through his work in Chicago."

The Summit will also feature the fifth-annual C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards, celebrating the most innovative and impactful efforts by mayors to tackle climate change. Recognizing the increasingly important role cities must play in driving climate action in the United States, for the first time ever the Awards will celebrate one winner from a US city and one winner from the rest of the world.

“Nowadays, our worldwide philosophy should be ‘Think local, act global’. The winners of the C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards are evidence of the stunning innovation and disruptive progress by cities around the world to shape the century ahead” said Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and Chair of C40. “These projects should be considered blueprints that other cities can adapt to accelerate their own efforts.”

Mayors are committed to working through existing organizations, including Climate Mayors, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and ICLEI to develop partnerships with other cities.  These commitments made under the Chicago Climate Charter will be clustered around central ideas and themes to better aggregate impact and provide guidance for Mayors who are looking to peers for new ideas. 

The North American Climate Summit was hosted by Mayor Emanuel, in concert with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. The Summit is supported by the Joyce Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and the Crown Family Philanthropies.

About the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy

Co-chaired by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg and Vice President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič, the Global Covenant of Mayors is the world’s largest and first-of-its-kind international alliance of cities and local governments taking action to combat climate change. The international alliance is made up of nearly 7500 cities and local governments, all of whom have committed to meet or exceed the planned contributions of their respective national governments to the meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and report regularly and publicly on their progress. Former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Christiana Figueres serves as the Vice-Chair of the initiative. So far, 175 cities across North America have made commitments to the Global Covenant of Mayors. These commitments mirror those made through the Chicago Climate Charter and Climate Mayors in the United States. 

About America’s Pledge

In the wake of the Trump Administration’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement, an unprecedented number of U.S. cities, states, businesses, and universities have reaffirmed their commitment to helping America reach its Paris climate goals. Whether through declarations like We Are Still In or new pledges and commitments of their own, these non-national actors are maintaining U.S. momentum on climate action in the absence of federal leadership. In July 2017, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and California Governor Jerry Brown launched the America’s Pledge initiative, which will aggregate and quantify the actions of states, cities and businesses and other non-national actors in the United States to drive down their greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

About Climate Mayors

More than 377 Mayors from around the country have committed to the Paris Agreement as part of the Mayors National Climate Agenda, or Climate Mayors. This network of U.S. mayors — representing over 67 million Americans in red states and blue states — works together to strengthen local efforts for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting efforts for binding federal and global-level policy making.  This group is a part of the America's Pledge initiative, which will aggregate carbon reductions pledged by cities, regions and businesses with the aim of ensuring that the US achieves its Paris Agreement pledge.

About C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group

C40 Cities connects more than 90 of the world’s greatest cities, representing 650+ million people and one quarter of the global economy. Created and led by cities, C40 is focused on tackling climate change and driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens. The current chair of the C40 is Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo; and three-term Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg serves as President of the Board. C40’s work is made possible by our three strategic funders: Bloomberg Philanthropies, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), and Realdania. To learn more about the work of C40 and our cities, please visit, follow us on Twitter @c40cities or Instagram @c40cities and like us on Facebook at

About the City of Chicago

The City of Chicago has long taken action on climate. Recently, Mayor Emanuel announced the city reduced its carbon emissions by eleven percent from 2005 to 2015, bringing the city to forty percent of the way to meeting its Paris Climate Agreement goals.  The reduction in greenhouse gases over the past decade came while the number of jobs within the city increased by seven percent and is equivalent to shutting down a coal power plant for fourteen months. In April, the Mayor announced that by 2025 all of Chicago’s public buildings will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy. The transition means that 8 percent of the city-wide electricity load or 1.8 billion kilowatt hours will come from clean and renewable sources. This follows the 2013 commitment that the City made to eliminating coal from its electricity supply. When the Trump administration unceremoniously removed research from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Change Website, Mayor Emanuel worked with cities around the country to post after online.  The research can be found on the City of Chicago’s “Climate Change is Real website,