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Bill de Blasio vows to uphold Paris Agreement

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo Credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined the mayors of Paris, Melbourne, Durban and other international cities on Monday in pledging to uphold the clean energy standards outlined in the Paris climate accord, which President Donald Trump pulled back from earlier this year.

As Trump and heads of state from around the world descended on New York City Monday for the United Nations General Assembly meetings, de Blasio addressed several of his international counterparts at the C40 Climate Leadership Conference, and later at an event dubbed the Global Summit of Mayors, where he vowed to push back against Trump’s environmental and immigration agenda.

“I’m not going to get into a partisan diatribe about the president of the United States. I will only note a fact, he comes from this very city,” de Blasio told the C40 gathering in midtown Manhattan. The group is composed of leaders from 90 cities who have pledged to fight climate change on the local level, and is spearheaded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

De Blasio, citing the damage caused by superstorm Sandy, said Trump “should inherently understand the threat we face because he’s seen it, too”

“Even if our president turns a blind eye, we will act,” de Blasio said. “We feel fully empowered, and I know my colleagues around the country feel the same and so many around the world. We will act. At a certain point if we all act, our national governments need to come along.”

In June, Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement — a pact signed by 195 nations aimed at reducing carbon emissions over the next decade — unless the terms of the agreement were renegotiated. Trump has argued the emission standards would place a costly burden on American businesses.

De Blasio, who last week unveiled a plan that would require the city’s large buildings to reduce emissions by 2030 or face stiff fines, said cities should feel “empowered” to tackle climate change locally.

In remarks to the mayors summit at the Grand Hyatt hotel in midtown, de Blasio said local leaders needed to push back on claims that immigrants and refugees drive up crime and lead to job loss.

“Our progress has not been in spite of immigrants but because of immigrants,” de Blasio said.

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