Breaking Down Illinois’ Equitable Climate Bill

Day 281 – Back in September, Illinois passed Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (SB2408). It is a nation-leading law to fight climate change, create good-paying jobs, improve the health of Illinoisans, and support disadvantaged communities. I didn’t know exactly what the new legislation involved, so I thought what better way to learn about than to write about it.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) summarized the key components.

  1. Slash climate-changing carbon pollution by phasing out fossil fuels in the power sector. Require Illinois to achieve a 100% zero-emissions power sector by 2045, with significant emissions reductions before then. Illinois will be the first Midwest state to require a carbon-free power sector, joining California, Hawaii, New Mexico, New York, Virginia, and Washington.
  2. Grow renewable energy generation more than five-fold. Invest $580 million a year to generate 40% of Illinois’ energy from wind and solar by 2030 and 50% by 2040.
  3. Extend cost-saving energy efficiency programs. Save people hundreds of millions of dollars on their electric bills each year. Expand requirements for energy efficiency investments in low-income households.
  4. Expand economic opportunities for disadvantaged communities and people of color.  Invest $115 million per year to create job training hubs and create career pipelines for the people who need them most, incubate and grow small clean energy businesses in disadvantaged communities, and more.
  5. Clean up Illinois’ transportation sector. Creating planning processes for beneficial electrification, and providing rebates for electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. 
  6. Support communities and workers impacted by the transition away from fossil fuels. Invest up to $40 million per year to replace lost property taxes, and support economic development and job training.
  7. Move towards cleaner buildings. Creating a statewide stretch building code and including building electrification measures that reduce fossil fuel use in buildings as part of energy efficiency programs.
  8. Provide limited support for nuclear plants. Provides payments to economically struggling Illinois nuclear plants totaling about $700 million over five years. 
  9. Hold utilities accountable with stronger ethics rules and reforms. Plan our electric grid in a more transparent, equitable way and help prepare the grid for electric vehicles and clean, efficient all-electric buildings.
  10. Create good-paying clean energy jobs across Illinois showing that economic growth and a healthier environment go hand-in-hand. This bill will grow all sectors of the clean energy and the jobs that come with them, and requires family-sustaining wages and benefits for most clean energy jobs in Illinois, encouraging union jobs while also ensuring that small businesses in disadvantaged communities can get a foothold.

The climate crisis is upon us and real meaningful changes need to happen now. This is a good step forward, but Illinois and states around the country need to do more to help heal our damaged planet.

Tomorrow, compostable snack bags.

The Greenest Cars on the Market

Day 231 – “Carbon dioxide levels today are higher than at any point in at least the past 800,000 years. Carbon dioxide concentrations are rising mostly because of the fossil fuels that people are burning for energy. Fossil fuels like coal and oil contain carbon that plants pulled out of the atmosphere through photosynthesis over the span of many millions of years; we are returning that carbon to the atmosphere in just a few hundred years.” – NOAA

Increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide are responsible for about two-thirds of the total energy imbalance that is causing Earth’s temperature to rise.  That extra heat is driving regional and seasonal temperature extremes, reducing snow cover and sea ice, intensifying heavy rainfall, and changing habitat ranges for plants and animals—expanding some and shrinking others.  The 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 2005, and 7 of the 10 have occurred just since 2014. 

Car emissions is a big culprit to the increase of greenhouse gases. Let’s take a look at the best and worst cars.

GreenerCars.org’s 2021 Greenest List features the most environmentally friendly cars now available. Most of the cars listed are electric or hybrid.

  1. Hyundai Ioniq Electric
  2. Mini Cooper SE Hardtop 2 door
  3. Toyota Prius Prime
  4. BMW i3s
  5. Nissan Leaf
  6. Honda Clarity
  7. Hyundai Kona Electric
  8. Kia Soul Electric
  9. Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus
  10. Toyota Rav4 Prime AWD

The top gasoline fueled or gasoline hybrids include:

  1. Toyota Camry Hybrid LE
  2. Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Blue
  3. Honda Insight Touring
  4. Toyota Rav4 Hybrid AWD
  5. Chevrolet Spark
  6. Kia Sorento Hybrid
  7. Kia Soul Eco dynamics
  8. Toyota Sienna
  9. Toyota Highlander Hybrid AWD
  10. Mazda MX-5

The cars with the lowest environmental rating include the following:

  1. RAM 1500 TRX 4×4
  2. Lexus LX 570
  3. Mercedes-Benz AMG G 63
  4. Toyota Land Cruiser Wagon 4WD
  5. Toyota Sequoia 4WD
  6. Toyota Tundra 4WD
  7. Dodge Durango SRT
  8. Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT 4×4
  9. Land Rover Range Rover LWB SVA
  10. BMW X5 M

You can see how your car ranks by checking out Green Scores of ranked vehicles, available in the GreenerCars.org interactive database, dating back to model year 2000. The database lists each configuration’s fuel economy, health-related pollution impacts, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Tomorrow, recycling facts.