By Henry Henderson
In this moment where the Trump administration seems adamant about abdicating their responsibilities to protect the nation and the world against the ravages of climate change, state and local action has become all the more essential.
And in this moment, I am proud to be a Chicagoan.
The city has been a clean energy leader for a long time. From its early development of a Climate Action Plan, through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star Partner Award—the first given to a municipal government—for the incredible energy efficiency gains made through the Retrofit Chicago program. I am proud to say Natural Resources Defense Council NRDC has been a partner in Retrofit Chicago’s commercial building initiative for years, helping to transform massive buildings that make up the Loop’s glittering skyline into a carbon crunching tool to take on climate change. And Chicago was one of the first municipal governments to join the City Energy Project—which helped to develop a bevy of key energy efficiency policies to help ensure the Windy City continues to shrink its carbon footprint.
That site ensures that the climate data that the Trump Administration scrubbed from the EPA website remains available to the public and scientists around the world. As a seeming war on science moves forward in Washington, DC, Chicago ensures that decades of essential data can continue to inform the researchers seeking to understand and find solutions to climate change. Coming on the heels of Illinois’ groundbreaking and powerful Future Energy Jobs Act, this region brings a new level of meaning to the “think globally, act locally” mantra.
Henry Henderson is director of the midwest program at Natural Resources Defense Council.