Mayor Lightfoot Announces 2022 Climate Action Plan
For first time in 14 years, Chicago has new community-informed plan to mitigate climate-change impacts and position Chicago as a job-creator and economic leader in new economy
CHICAGO –Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, joined by aldermen, community leaders and other local stakeholders celebrated Earth Day by showcasing Chicago’s 2022 Climate Action Plan at Plant Chicago. In 2008, Chicago was the first major U.S. city to develop a comprehensive climate action plan, and today the Lightfoot Administration repositions 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. 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 prioritize protecting residents and businesses from climate impacts. Chicago is no exception,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “The 2022 Climate Action Plan demonstrates a commitment to pursue ambitious climate action in ways that deliver meaningful community-level benefits. We can alleviate historic environmental burdens and invest in community health, safety, and resilience by equitably investing in critical clean energy infrastructure and nature-based solutions, catalyzing a workforce prepared for all facets of the green economy, and encouraging innovative new types of economic growth and job creation.”
Located in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, Plant Chicago occupies a former Chicago Firehouse that serves as a center for circular economy programming. Through shared-use indoor growing spaces for plants and fungi, indoor and outdoor classrooms, and food scraps collection for composting, this organization helps residents realize the fullest value of materials for sustainable business practices and to dramatically reduce the amount of waste taken to landfills.
“Cities are epicenters of consumption, and as such, must lead the way in climate action,” said Jonathan Pereira, Executive Director of Plant Chicago. “With the release of this plan, Chicago is setting some aggressive goals to combat climate change. What is most exciting is that the plan centers equity. For too long we have expected historically marginalized communities to deal with our waste; it is far past time that all Chicagoans reap the benefits of a carbon free city.”
The 2022 CAP builds on Mayor Lightfoot’s 2022 budget, including the Chicago Recovery Plan’s $188M in climate mitigation investments, and sets the goal of directly reducing emissions in Chicago 62% by 2040. 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% of all building types in the City of Chicago, retrofitting 90% 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% 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 our clean energy future, by upholding our commitments to 100% renewable energy for City operations by 2025 and city-wide 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 prioritizing 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.”
“The pandemic underscored gaps in support for members of the Family Matters community, particularly during remote learning. For families engaged in low-wage, essential work, they can’t take time off. And for families whose children have sensory support needs, online learning was a real challenge,” said Ann Hinterman, Director of Community Engagement & Grants Management, Family Matters Inc. We knew that we wanted to make our space as comfortable and accessible as possible. To meet our community’s needs, we chose to expand our programs during the pandemic. Overnight, The Family Matters School went from only having a Kindergarten class to offering Kindergarten through third grade. By investing in retrofits across our 3-flat building, including LED lighting replacements, recycling and waste management signage, and smart thermostat installation, we have been able to create comfortable, easily customizable, and fun spaces for the youth in our education and youth leadership programs while seeing the benefits of lower energy use.”
“548 Development is a committed partner to Mayor Lightfoot’s vision for sustainable neighborhoods. Our goal to develop 3,000 energy-efficient affordable housing units aligns with this ambitious climate action plan,” said A.J. Patton, Managing Partner & CEO, 548 Development. “We look forward to working with the administration to build Chicago’s green workforce economy and contribute by training 500 Chicago residents in solar installation. We believe that all Chicago communities should have access to sustainable technologies that enhance resiliency so that working-class people can thrive.”
With renewed federal and state climate leadership, the 2022 CAP goals enable the City to capitalize on grant and other funding opportunities. In alignment with Illinois’ Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, signed into law in 2021, the City seeks to achieve a 100% clean energy economy by prioritizing workforce development, energy efficiency investments, and expanding clean energy access opportunities.
“Cities like Chicago are already feeling the impacts of the climate crisis, and frontline communities bear the greatest burden,” said Stefan Schaffer, Senior Director, Strategy and Operations at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “This plan brought together voices from across the city to face the threat of climate change and is a big step forward despite the many challenges that lie ahead. We have no time to lose and the only way that Chicago will remain a climate leader is by relying on the strengths of our communities to develop long-lasting, transformative solutions.”
“Equiticity is pleased to see the 2022 Climate Action Plan’s firm commitment to make walking, biking, and transit access more viable for racially marginalized communities,” said Oboi Reed, President and CEO, Equiticity. “Our ‘Go Hub: A Community Mobility Center,’ located in North Lawndale, brings together hardware-bikes, scooters, and other infrastructure- with software-Community Mobility Rituals and advocacy to increase mobility in a neighborhood experiencing severe transportation inequity. Racial equity, mobility justice, and environmental justice are all inextricably linked, and require ambition and coordination to improve life outcomes for Black, Brown, and working communities.”
Chicago is a member of C40, a network of nearly 100 mayors working together to confront the climate crisis to ensure everyone, everywhere can thrive. The City is also one of 25 cities selected to participate in the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge, an effort to resource cities to take strong action to reduce pollution that contributes to climate change and impacts public health.