The scientific and economic analysis commissioned by the Task Force makes one thing clear: there is no time to lose. If Chicago continues on it's current path, just like many other cities, its greenhouse gas emissions could increase 35 percent by the year 2050. If the world continues on its present path, Chicago could experience extreme heat in the summer, many more heavy rain storms, growing flood risks, stresses on our public health and threats to the city's economy.
The Task Force agreed that Chicago needs to achieve an 80 percent reduction below its 1990 GHG emissions level by the year 2050 in order to do its part to avoid the worst global impacts of climate change. To achieve this 80 percent reduction, the Task Force proposed an initial goal of a 25 percent reduction below 1990 levels by 2020, a midterm goal that was far enough in the future to allow time for major infrastructure and behavioral changes, but soon enough to ensure we are on the right course.
Beyond helping to solve a global problem, cities and their residents can immediately benefit from their efforts to reduce emissions. One result will be better air quality, leading to improved health for everyone. Raising the energy efficiency of buildings saves money, lowers housing costs for families and creates jobs, especially for local businesses. Economic development gets a boost. As people are able to live closer to work, schools and services, they enjoy a better quality of life.
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Overall Chicago Climate Action Plan Consultant: AT Kearney