I applaud the release today by President Obama and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of the Clean Power Plan, which sets flexible and achievable standards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and provides world leadership in avoiding the worst effects of climate change. Our County has already proven that significant reduction in Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions – while saving money -- is possible. Cook County reduced its emissions by 9 percent between 2010 and 2014 by upgrading heating and cooling systems, replacing lighting, and improving air ventilation units and controls. From 2010 through 2014, the County has decreased its emissions by 97,300 metric tons, equivalent to the annual emissions from 20,400 passenger vehicles.
Our investments are saving taxpayer dollars by reducing energy costs -- and by decreasing GHG emissions, therefore reducing the harmful health and related effects of climate change. Climate change puts already vulnerable populations at greater risk. Heat waves are more intense, and heat stress and poor air quality pose major health risks to vulnerable groups including those with asthma.
The plan gives states flexibility in choosing how to meet carbon pollution standards. Renewable energy such as solar or wind, energy efficiency, the mix of fuels used by power plants, and other measures can all play a role in meeting the standard. By following Cook County government’s lead, our residents and businesses can play a major role in meeting the goals of the Clean Power Plan, fight climate change, save money, and create a healthier Illinois.