(CBS) – Former President Barack Obama spoke Tuesday at a climate summit for mayors from around the world, saying the issue should be a top priority for local governments everywhere.

“Sheltering future generations from the ravages of climate change should be something of an obsession for us,” Obama said at the event in Chicago’s Streeterville district.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel – Obama’s former White House chief of staff — and more than 50 other mayors signed a “climate charter.” It was billed as a first-of-its-kind international pledge that supports the principles of the Paris Climate Accord that U.S. President Donald Trump rejected in June.

Anne McKibbin of Chicago’s Elevate Energy calls the act more than symbolic. Her company works with governments and affordable housing communities to improve energy efficiency.

While she braces for federal budget cuts, she says this could signal investment from elsewhere.

“Ultimately, the work is up to each of us,” Obama told attendees.

There are many specific pledges in the charter signed today, including: investing in public transit and reducing the carbon footprint in new and existing buildings and infrastructure.

 

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