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Asheville mayor vows to uphold Paris agreement despite president's withdrawal

Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer joined mayors across the country, becoming a Climate Mayor and vowing to continue working to improve climate change and clean energy efforts despite President Donald Trump's decision to back out of the Paris Agreement. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer joined mayors across the country, becoming a Climate Mayor and vowing to continue working to improve climate change and clean energy efforts despite President Donald Trump's decision to back out of the Paris Agreement.

So far, more than 100 mayors from New York to L.A. have vowed to uphold the Paris agreement goals in their respective municipalities.

"I have a lot of constituents that are incredibly concerned," Manheimer said. "People call our office and email me to say 'Now what are we going to do? What are we going to do if our country isn't working with other countries around the world?'"

The Climate Mayors from cities like Boston and Houston said they will continue creating and investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency. They will also buy and create more demand for electric cars and trucks and work harder to cut greenhouse gas.

Manheimer said their commitments help different municipalities share ideas and lets people know there are several local initiatives that will still occur.

"It helps everyone know that different cities have pledged to work on global climate change," Manheimer said. "Here in Asheville, the city has pledged to reduce our carbon footprint by 80 percent by the year 2030."

Some Trump supporters are skeptical of his decision. Jerry Haines called the withdrawal a business deal and said he has concerns for the environment, including fracking.

"No man's going to do everything we want him to do. Everyone's going to have disagreements on different topics going on, and, so, I think that people should just pray for him to make the best decisions," Haines said.

The President said Thursday, the business he is focused on is here at home. He believes his decision will create American jobs and lessen the burden on taxpayers. Some local people are still standing behind Trump's experience as a business man.

"I mean the regulations work, but companies always get out of the regulations. It's more like a show that never does anything," Andrew Byrd said.

Other North Carolina mayors who made the same pledge are from Charlotte, Durham, Chapel Hill and Winston-Salem.

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