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Obama Appears at Mayors' Summit to Urge Action on Climate Change

Politics

By Joe McCarthy

Former President Barack Obama appeared at a gathering of mayors from around the world in Chicago Tuesday to talk about climate change and encourage leaders to take action, according to the Associated Press.

It was the latest in a series of appearances from the former president who offers a perspective that differs from his successor. Just last week, Obama met with Chinese president Xi Jinping.


The North American Climate Summit was gathered to explore how city leaders can take action on climate change. More than 50 mayors attended the event, including those from Paris, Mexico City, Montreal, Austin and Atlanta. It was partly inspired by the recognition that cities may have to play a bigger role if action at federal levels of government recedes.

The U.S., for instance, intends to withdraw from the Paris agreement, opening up a larger opportunity for action on the local level. Mayors throughout the U.S. have since reaffirmed their commitments to the global arrangement.

While Obama didn't refer to Trump by name, he expressed opinions that are at odds with the current president, the New York Times noted.

He also insisted that mayors have an important role to play on environmental issues, according to the AP.

"Ultimately the work is done on the ground," Obama said during the event, AP reported. "Cities and states and businesses and universities and nonprofits have emerged as the new face of American leadership on climate change."

Mayors have long played a crucial role in addressing climate change. This makes sense because cities hold the bulk of the world's population and mayors can often take action more readily than leaders overseeing larger bodies of government.

Obama echoed these points during the event and drilled down even further, calling on individuals everywhere to play their part in mitigating climate change.

"Climate change can be solved by human action," he said. "We lead respectively where there is no consensus or directive out of our national governments."

Global Citizen takes action on the Global Goals which call for strong climate change. You can take action on this issue here .

Reposted with permission from our media associate Global Citizen.

Former U.S. Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz listens during the National Clean Energy Summit 9.0 on October 13, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Isaac Brekken / Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit

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Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.

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Climate change can evoke intense feelings, but a conversational approach can help. Reed Kaestner / Getty Images

Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.

"It's easy to feel dwarfed in the context of such a global systemic issue," says psychologist Renée Lertzman.

She says that when people experience these feelings, they often shut down and push information away. So to encourage climate action, she advises not bombarding people with frightening facts.

"When we lead with information, we are actually unwittingly walking right into a situation that is set up to undermine our efforts," she says.

She says if you want to engage people on the topic, take a compassionate approach. Ask people what they know and want to learn. Then have a conversation.

This conversational approach may seem at odds with the urgency of the issue, but Lertzman says it can get results faster.

"When we take a compassion-based approach, we are actively disarming defenses so that people are actually more willing and able to respond and engage quicker," she says. "And we don't have time right now to mess around, and so I do actually come to this topic with a sense of urgency… We do not have time to not take this approach."

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

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