Mayor Daley recently announced that Chicago plans to implement the most aggressive plan by any major American city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The plan calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 75 percent of 1990 levels by 2020.
Chicago is one of about 800 U.S. cities that signed onto the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. Under the Agreement, participating cities commit to:
- Meet or beat Kyoto Protocol targets in their own communities, through actions ranging from anti-sprawl land-use policies to urban forest restoration projects to public information campaigns;
- Urge state and federal governments to enact policies and programs to meet or beat the greenhouse gas emission reduction target for the United States called for in the Kyoto Protocol -- a 7% reduction from 1990 levels by 2012; and
- Urge the U.S. Congress to pass legislation establishing a national emission trading system.
According to Suzanne Malec-McKenna, Chicago's environmental commissioner, the city is the first to identify specific pollution sources and spell out how it would achieve the reductions in a measurable way. Next month, the City Council will consider an ordinance that would update the city's energy code to require better insulation, heating and cooling systems and windows in all commercial, industrial and residential buildings. The city also has an agreement with two coal-fired power plants to reduce emissions or shut down by 2015 and 2017. Chicago’s plan also calls for expanding the number of green rooftops, increasing recycling and car-pooling and promoting alternative fuels.
"We can't solve the world's climate change problem in Chicago, but we can do our part," said Daley. "We have a shared responsibility to protect our planet."