Mayor Lori Lightfoot announces 15 percent drop in city carbon emissions

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot is is marking a milestone for the city of Chicago: a 15% reduction in carbon emissions from 2005 to 2017.

According to the city and a new Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report, those results represent the equivalent of taking more than 1 million passenger vehicles off of the road for a year, or eliminating the energy used to power nearly 654,000 homes for a year.

"Solving our climate change problems is the moral, the business, the economic, the environmental challenge of our generation," said Environmental Law and Policy Center Executive Director Howard Learner.

Learner said right now is an opportunity for Chicago to shine on the world stage.

"This is the time and place for cities and states - Chicago, Illinois, the other Great Lake cities and states - to step up," he said. "We ought to be an active part of innovative solutions achieving progress."

And according to Learner, a big contributor to that 15% drop was the closing of the Fisk and Crawford Coal power plants in Pilsen and Little Village.

"Those were the single biggest individual sources of carbon pollution. When those shut down, that lead to a serious reduction of greenhouse gas and other pollution," he said.

Now, the city is buying more renewable energy.

According to the mayor's office, the city is purchasing renewable energy credits for City Hall, the Chicago Cultural Center, and Harold Washington Library, as well as other city buildings, to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, working to make electricity for Chicago's municipal buildings renewable by 2025.

"We need cities like Chicago to step up with serious progress," Learner said.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.