It is one of the commitments in the city’s 2022 climate action plan for which it sought input from citizens by hosting listening sessions, virtual town halls, and an open comment period.
Chicago has announced its 2022 climate action plan (2022 Cap) that sets the goal of directly reducing emissions in the city by 62 per cent by 2040.
The 2022 Cap builds on mayor Lori Lightfoot’s 2022 budget, including the Chicago Recovery Plan’s $188m in climate mitigation investments.
Climate action leader
Chicago was the first major US city to develop a comprehensive climate action plan in 2008 and Lightfoot wants to reposition Chicago as a global leader in climate action and economic growth.
In addition to using greenhouse gas emissions inventory data, the Office of the Mayor led the development of this plan by hosting listening sessions, virtual town halls, and an open comment period to seek input from over 2,100 residents to develop the language and commitments of the 2022 Cap.
“Now more than ever before, cities across the world have a responsibility and moral obligation to take action and prioritise protecting residents and businesses from climate impacts. Chicago is no exception”
City departments and sister agencies also engaged to develop the Cap strategies, actions, and targets. These insights helped to ensure that the 2022 Cap goals were both ambitious and attainable, and centered around the current everyday reality of Chicago residents.
“Now more than ever before, cities across the world have a responsibility and moral obligation to take action and prioritise protecting residents and businesses from climate impacts. Chicago is no exception,” said Lightfoot.
The plan is supported by five pillars:
- lowering costs for households and businesses through utility savings and expanded access to renewable energy including a commitment to retrofitting 20 per cent of all building types in the City of Chicago, retrofitting 90 per cent of the City’s own building portfolio by 2035 and expanding Chicago based community renewable energy by 20Mw
- reduce waste by committing to introducing an organics waste collection system by 2025 and diverting 90 per cent of our residential waste by 2040 and create jobs through expanded materials reuse opportunities
- delivering a zero-emission transportation network and improving air quality by expanding the City’s walk, bike, and transit options, increasing CTA ridership, and supporting municipal and commercial fleet electrification
- invest in a clean energy future, by upholding commitments to 100 per cent renewable energy for City operations by 2025 and citywide by 2035, investing in 30Mw of renewable energy on City property by 2030 and encouraging a transition from fossil fuel-based ‘peaker’ plants during peak energy demand to clean battery storage technologies
- strengthen communities and protect health by enabling community resilience investments and enabling health and racial equity criteria in decision-making.
“The Covid-19 pandemic and the compounding impacts of the climate crisis have radically changed our lives and have underscored the importance of prioritising our residents, our communities and our health”
Each pillar contains interconnected climate strategies designed to better serve all Chicago communities, and in particular Black, Brown, and working-class communities who disproportionately experience the chronic stress and impacts of the changing climate. The entirety of the plan will be released in the coming weeks.
“The Covid-19 pandemic and the compounding impacts of the climate crisis have radically changed our lives and have underscored the importance of prioritising our residents, our communities and our health,” said Angela Tovar, chief sustainability officer for the City of Chicago.
“The City of Chicago accepts the responsibility of advancing this plan and we are committed to creating more opportunities for collaboration with the City’s robust network of frontline leaders, experts, and stakeholders, to ensure that the plan remains aligned with climate solutions and community priorities that Chicagoans have offered throughout the year-long engagement process.”