Highlights include the launch of the County’s Clean Energy Plan, reducing emissions from County-owned buildings and implementing Fair Transit South Cook
Today, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle released the 2020 Cook County Sustainability Report highlighting the County’s efforts to support healthy and resilient communities that thrive economically, socially and environmentally.
Last year, Cook County surpassed its goals to reduce harmful climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions from its facilities and operations. The County aims to reduce overall emissions by 2.5% each year, which is a crucial target in meeting long-term goals. In 2018-2019, the County’s overall emissions were down 6.8%. Data from 2019-2020 is not yet available.
Since President Preckwinkle took office in 2010, overall emissions from County-owned buildings have been reduced by 35%. The County’s goals to fight climate change include achieving a 45% reduction in carbon emissions and using 100% renewable electricity by 2030 in County-owned facilities and making them carbon neutral by 2050.
“Just as local government must take a lead role in fighting racial inequities because of harmful policies in the past, local government must also take the lead on fighting climate change,” said President Preckwinkle. “Flooding, heat waves, worsening air quality and greater likelihood of new diseases are threats to us all, but under-resourced communities and communities of color are disproportionately at risk due to existing social, economic and health inequities. These underserved communities continue to be at the forefront of our work to create a more sustainable and equitable Cook County.”
Sustainability achievements outlined in the report include:
- Cook County’s Clean Energy Plan detailing the path to fight climate change by ensuring that County-owned buildings are carbon neutral by 2050 and using 100% renewable electricity by 2030.
- Fair Transit South Cook, a three-year pilot program that reduces fares up to 50% on the Metra Electric and Rock Island lines and enhances service on Pace’s 352 Halsted route.
- Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund grant awarded to the Village of Bellwood to create housing where a former gas station was located. This grant program is designed to help communities clean up contaminated sites while spurring jobs and redevelopment.
- National Association of Counties Achievement Award for a program that encouraged employees to save energy in County offices.
- A 4.2% decline in water use in County facilities over the past year.
View the 2020 Annual Sustainability Report.
For more information about the Department of Environment and Sustainability, visit their website.