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Chicago reduces emissions by 15 per cent between 2005-2017

To further its environmental efforts, the city has also purchased 95,000 renewable energy credits to reduce its reliance on electricity and natural gas.

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Chicago is more than halfway to its 2025 emissions reduction target
Chicago is more than halfway to its 2025 emissions reduction target

Chicago has delivered a 15 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from 2005 to 2017, a new report finds.

 

According to the 2017 Greenhouse Gas Inventory report, the results show that Chicago is already more than halfway to meeting its emissions reduction target for 2025. The reductions for the 12-year period are, reportedly, equivalent to taking over 1.2 million passenger vehicles off the road for one year or eliminating the energy used to power over 653,500 homes for a year.

 

Innovative environmental practices

 

“Chicago is extremely proud to be leading the way in adopting bold and innovative environmental practices that support the health of our residents and the wellbeing of our entire region,” said Lori Lightfoot, mayor of Chicago.

 

“Nonetheless, we all still have a long way to go towards fully addressing the global climate crisis, and are fully committed to working with businesses, advocacy organisations, along with state and federal leaders, towards finding the urgent solutions needed for a sustainable and environmentally-sound future.”

 

To further these efforts, Chicago has purchased 95,000 renewable energy credits to help reduce the city’s reliance on electricity and natural gas.

 

According to the report, total carbon emissions have continued to decline rapidly during each inventory period, with an 0.9 per cent reduction per year from 2005 to 2010 to a 2.5 per cent reduction per year from 2015 to 2017.

 

Additionally, emissions reductions from 2005 to 2017 have primarily occurred in the building energy sector with substantial reductions occurring in electricity and natural gas emissions in the commercial sector.

“Some of Chicago’s most iconic buildings are leading the way towards a cleaner – and cheaper –energy future by reducing the amount of energy needed year after year.”

Chicago’s greenhouse gas goal is to achieve a 26-28 per cent reduction in emissions levels over the span of 20 years from 2005 to 2025, which is in line with the original commitment made by the Obama administration as part of the Paris Climate Agreement.

 

In 2017, the city was already 59 per cent of the way toward reaching its target, up 17 per cent from in just two years from 2015.

 

In addition to achieving important emissions reductions, the report highlights the city’s pursuit of another significant environmental goal: transitioning all municipal buildings to renewable energy sources by 2025. To further these efforts, Chicago has purchased 95,000 renewable energy credits to help reduce the city’s reliance on electricity and natural gas.

 

The Department of Assets and Information Services (AIS, formerly 2FM) has purchased 95,000 Green-e certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) from Midwestern wind farms. The report notes this a critical step in helping Chicago transition all municipal buildings to renewable energy sources within the next five years.

 

Renewable energy supply

 

The initial REC purchase secures a renewable energy supply for several of Chicago’s most iconic municipal buildings including City Hall, the Chicago Cultural Centre and Harold Washington Library for all of 2019 electricity use. The purchase covers nearly 180 facilities citywide including a large number of neighbourhood buildings including libraries and fire stations.

 

“The city’s greenhouse inventory confirms the impact of smart energy efficiency policies to drive down emissions associated with the building sector,” said Stefan Schaffer, city strategist for the American Cities Climate Challenge at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

 

“Some of Chicago’s most iconic buildings are leading the way towards a cleaner – and cheaper –energy future by reducing the amount of energy needed year after year.”

 

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