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.

Toilet Paper: You should give a crap

Day 26 – I don’t think I have ever been this excited about toilet paper. In all honesty, I have never been exciting about toilet paper. However, that has all changed with my purchase of Who Gives a Crap. This Australian company has found a way to make toilet paper environmentally friendly, charitable and fun!

Before purchasing Who Gives a Crap, we would alternate between Charmin and Costco’s Kirkland brand. Little did I know that these brands, along with other big name brands, are not very good for the environment. In 2019, a study was done by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Stand.earth to determine which toilet paper companies had the best sustainability practices. My two brands received “F” scores. This score was given because these companies (along with Angel Soft, Quilted Northern and Target’s brand Up & Up) do not use any recycled content in their toilet paper. Instead, these brands get their paper by clear-cutting the Canadian boreal forest. With the amount of carbon dioxide being released in our atmosphere, we need to keep every tree we can.

I decided to look for a better alternative. The reviews were not great on recycled toilet paper products. That is, until I came upon, Who Gives a Crap. Here are all the reasons why this company is awesome!

  1. It is a plastic free product. No plastic bags or wraps, just paper.
  2. The toilet paper comes from recycled school and office paper.
  3. The toilet paper does not use any inks, dyes or scents.
  4. 50% of profits help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.
  5. The toilet paper is surprisingly soft and sturdy (its 3 ply).
  6. The cost is comparable to the name brands.
  7. The company is a certified B-Corporation, so you know they’re legit.
  8. The colorful wrappers will brighten up your bathroom.
  9. They’re just a fun company. Their name alone is a good indicator of that fact.

So, it is fitting that today, Australia Day, we celebrate an Australian company that is saving trees, saving lives and giving us something to be excited about, even if it is just toilet paper.

* Here’s $10 off from Who Gives a Crap!

Tomorrow, celebrating the 133rd birthday of a beloved magazine.