Illinois Commits to Bold Climate Action

The state of Illinois passed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act , which will phase fossil fuels out for energy production and position the state as a leader on equitable economic development in the clean energy sector.

September 29, 2021, 11:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


An image of a coal powered energy production facility along an unidentified waterway in Illinois.

Kent Raney / Shutterstock

"Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a landmark law this month that will transition the state to 100 percent clean energy by 2045, with benchmarks along the way," reports Ben Adler.

According to Adler, Illinois' new Climate and Equitable Jobs Act is particularly notable for three reasons: "Illinois is the first state in the coal-heavy Midwest to commit to eliminating carbon emissions; the plan received some Republican support; and it includes programs to ensure economic and racial equity."

Additional details of the bill are available in an article by J.C. Kibbey for the NRDC provides additional coverage of the new law. Kibbey lists a few significant goals of the bill, like slashing fossil fuels from the power sector, growing renewable energy production five-fold, creating economic opportunities for disadvantaged communities in clean energy, and implementing stronger ethics rules for utilities, among others.

"The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act establishes Illinois as a national leader on climate, equity, and support for communities and workers as they transition away from fossil fuels," writes Kibbey.

The bipartisan support for the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act might indicate a "potential partisan thaw" on the politics of climate change, according to Adler. "Perhaps that’s because the local effects of climate change are becoming impossible to ignore."

Along those lines, Kibbey notes: "This summer in Chicago was among the hottest on record, with record heat and severe drought across Northern Illinois harming farmers and echoing costly droughts in 2012 that were 'almost certainly' driven by climate change." Moreover, "Chicago set records for rainfall in 2018, 2019, and 2020, flooding homes and businesses. 'Uncharted' fluctuations in lake levels are causing property damage along the shore. Devastating floods in 2019 caused more than $6.2 billion in damage in the Midwest, including in Illinois—mostly in the central and southern parts of the state."

Monday, September 27, 2021 in Yahoo News

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