Cranley, Simpson resist Trump's Paris decision with environmental proposals of their own

CINCINNATI -- In the aftermath of President Donald Trump's decision to abandon the Paris climate accord, which called on its 195 member nations to reduce carbon emissions and focus on environmental friendliness, Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto tweeted: "It's now up to cities to lead."

Mayor John Cranley hopes Cincinnati will be one of them.

Cranley announced in a news conference and on Twitter Thursday that he had joined the Compact of Mayors, a group of 648 international city leaders who have made it their mission to "accelerate more ambitious, collaborative and sustainable local climate action" all over the world. 

"Years ago Dems & repubs agreed we needed to save the ozone," Cranley tweeted. "Bush put the final ban on CFCs. All believed in science."

Membership in the compact is more than a symbolic commitment, according to its website. Participating cities must measure climate-affecting factors such as greenhouse gas output, develop concrete plans and goals for reducing such emissions and meet compliance standards within three years. A yearly report to the compact determines whether each city is still in compliance with expectations.

The bad news for Cranley's environmental ambition is that he might not have time to fulfill it himself: Trump's decision, if not reversed, would take effect in 2021. If Cranley does not win his re-election bid in November, current City Councilmember Yvette Simpson will take the city's reins Dec. 1 and continue to drive it forward for the following four years.

Simpson did not mention an intention to join the Compact of Mayors if elected, but did tweet that she also disagreed with Trump's decision. She announced that she would introduce a resolution for the City Council to oppose the United States' exit from the Paris accord.

On a larger scale, Kentucky Senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell, both Republicans, voiced support for Trump's decision while fellow Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich derided it as short-sighted.

"I wasn't happy with the original agreement, especially in light of the Obama administration's failure to work with Republicans in Congress on terms acceptable to both parties," he wrote in a news release. "But, I know that climate change is real. ... And we could have negotiated that agreement in ways that would not needlessly destroy jobs."

Neither Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman nor his Democratic counterpart Sherrod Brown released statements about the decision Thursday.

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