Chicago’s Climate Action Plan

As a member of the City of Boston’s newly-formed Community Advisory Committee on Climate Action (which could, unfortunately, come to be known as CACCA), my first assignment was to read the City of Chicago’s Climate Action Plan.  After reading the 60-page plan, I’m not sure whether Chicago is actually going to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, but I do know one thing:  They sure have the jump on Boston!

Take trees, for example.  Chicagoans have been planting trees since 1989.  At last count, they’ve planted over 500,000 of them.  In Boston, we launched our 100,000 tree planting program in 2007.  To date, we are not even close to being on track to plant 100,000 trees by 2020.  Furthermore, our tree inventory is in rapid decline, as I have noted elsewhere in this blog.

Admittedly, Chicago is a bigger city than Boston.   But Chicago has over 4 million square feet of green roof space, 15 million square feet of energy-retrofitted city buildings, and a 17-acre eco-industrial park.   The Chicago Conservation Corps recruits and trains hundreds of volunteers to lead environmental service projects.  And, as a charter member of the Chicago Climate Exchange, the Windy City has made a legally binding commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6% by 2010.

Yet, despite all these efforts, the Chicago Climate Action Plan acknowledges that greenhouse gas emissions in Chicago are still rising!

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