Pete Buttigieg proposes Pittsburgh summit on climate change at Democratic debate |

Pete Buttigieg proposes Pittsburgh summit on climate change at Democratic debate

Bob Bauder
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg announces that he will seek the Democratic presidential nomination during a rally, Sunday, April 14, 2019, in South Bend, Ind.

Pittsburgh popped up during Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate when one of the candidates — a buddy of Mayor Bill Peduto’s — suggested the city would be the perfect spot for a summit on climate change.

Responding to a question about his stance on climate change, Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., suggested that a meeting of mayors from around the world who support the Paris Agreement would help bring about change in the absence of support from the federal government.

Buttigieg, along with Peduto and dozens of other mayors across the country, has vowed to follow guidelines of the 2015 Paris climate agreement despite opposition from President Donald Trump.

“We should have a Pittsburgh summit where we bring them together,” Buttigieg said before being cut off by moderator Chuck Todd.

Buttigieg appeared to suggest rejoining the Paris initiative before Todd cut him off.

Peduto, who was in Paris attending an annual board meeting of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, tweeted his support.

Peduto is scheduled to return to Pittsburgh on Friday and was unavailable for comment. Spokesman Tim McNulty said he had not spoken to Peduto, but the administration would welcome hosting a summit.

Trump drew heavy criticism in Pittsburgh and from other supporters of the Paris Agreement when he pulled the United States out of the pact, saying he was elected to represent the people of “Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

Peduto responded with an executive order vowing to observe elements of the agreement. The mayor plans to reduce energy and water usage by 50% and switch to a vehicle fleet that’s free of fossil fuel, among other reductions, by 2030. Mayors from around the world, including Buttigieg, pledged emission reductions.

McNulty said Peduto met Buttigieg several years ago through Nan Whaley, the mayor of Dayton, Ohio. Peduto and the South Bend mayor have collaborated on Smart Cities initiatives, which promote the use of data and technology to improve sustainability, create economic development, and enhance quality of life.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-564-3080, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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