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Two takes on the new climate/energy law

Friday, Sep 17, 2021

* No law is perfect, and the new climate/energy law is far from it

Gov. J.B. Pritzker vows Illinois will help stop — and even reverse — climate change with a new state law that outlaws coal- and gas-fired electricity by 2045.

But the law fails to address the state’s biggest source of climate-changing pollution: coal mining.

During 2020 alone, mostly out-of-state companies that burned Illinois coal released more than 57 million tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to a Chicago Tribune analysis based on a formula developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

By contrast, the state’s coal and gas plants emitted 46 million tons of CO2 during the year.

Also: 71-36-1.

* On the other hand

The result is what proponents call the “most equitable” climate bill passed to date in the United States.

Even some of the core people behind the environmental justice parts of the legislation — which include preferences for minority businesses and hiring, training opportunities for clean energy jobs and grants for community programs — seemed shocked by how much they had achieved.

“No one believed in Illinois we would actually pass legislation that can stop oil and gas facilities from running forever,” says Juliana Pino, policy director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization. […]

J.C. Kibbey, Illinois clean energy advocate for Natural Resources Defense Council in Chicago, says more needs to be done and will be done to address climate change.

Still, Kibbey says, “This would’ve been unimaginable even five years ago that we would completely move away from fossil fuels in the power sector. In a state like this, that we got it done, is a testament how the politics has shifted and how quickly the economics of coal has shifted.”


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Blue Dog - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:07 pm:

    I applaud efforts to reduce our carbon footprint. Keyword here is reduce. I won’t be around in 2045, but I would bet a whole bunch that we will still be using fossil fuels to produce electric then.I hope it’s only as backup, but with EVs on the horizon, we’re going to need lots more juice.

  2. - walker - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:19 pm:


  3. - VerySmallRocks - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:23 pm:

    I expect trailing legislation will improve programs next year, with a more massive increase within three years, especially as we get nearer to Exelon having their hands out again. In that case, the amount of renewable energy and associated technology must be increased to neutralize their extortion.

  4. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:27 pm:

    “the governor said …“We can’t outrun or hide from climate change — not to the north where the boundary waters burn, not to the south where (Hurricane) Ida swallows lives and livelihoods in the blink of an eye,”

    I suppose the governor is right, the coal burned in Asian power plants will make its way into the atmosphere regardless of what Illinois or the Feds do. We might as well be the one exporting inexpensive Illinois-produced coal. The jobs and tax base it can provide over the next decades are vital to many Illinois communities

  5. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:39 pm:

    Blue Dog,

    I would wager that coal power generation will be completely gone, and maybe natural gas will be approved for backup use on a case by case basis with some carbon offsets to make it “neutral”. I have seen no scenario projected by EIA or other credible sources where petrochemicals are no longer made, nor where we won’t be using asphalt to pave roads, or being completely weaned off of diesel and gasoline for transportation. Cars and trucks will be easier to electrify than freight trains, aircraft and waterborne vessels.

  6. - Blue Dog - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:43 pm:

    Six. Mostly agree.

  7. - Incandenza - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:50 pm:

    Given the passage of a suite of bills in California that essentially eliminates single-family housing statewide, now is a good time to bring up transportation and urban planning as a way to tackle climate change.

    EVs are good but still encourages an inefficient sprawling car-centric landscape that makes flooding worse and uses more electricity, resources, etc. The next climate-based legislation needs to boost funding for public transit and strip single-family zoning statewide.

  8. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:56 pm:

    === that essentially eliminates single-family housing===


    You’re saying single family homes are to be eliminated in California?

    You’d think that’d be big news…

  9. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 1:58 pm:

    Do you grasp the difference between zoning and housing?

    To the post,

    Never let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    Pritzker and Welch knew that.

  10. - Nobody Sent - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:13 pm:

    It’s hard to take JB’s concern for climate change seriously when his ICC continues to approve pro-fossil fuel projects and he says nothing. You can’t have it both ways JB - we know you can’t control the ICC once you issue the political rewards, er.. I mean well-considered appointments, but you don’t have to sit silently and watch. For all of our sakes, let’s hope your next ICC appointees are qualified and appreciate the seriousness of the issues and their obligations.

  11. - Incandenza - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:30 pm:

    = You’re saying single family homes are to be eliminated in California? =

    No. The restrictive zoning that bars anything but single family homes has been eliminated. I said housing in the first sentence but zoning in the second. I meant zoning. Read here:

  12. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:35 pm:

    Yeah. I read it.

    I read this too…

    === essentially eliminates single-family housing===

    … which is hyperbole, and not accurate.

    There will be single family homes built, there are more opportunities for multi units too… but it doesn’t eliminate, not even essentially, single family housing.


    The next step would be to open zoning for the opportunity for multi unit housing, I can’t imagine a want of anyone in Illinois to “eliminate” single family housing

  13. - Incandenza - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 2:45 pm:

    = but it doesn’t eliminate, not even essentially, single family housing =

    I said I had meant zoning, not housing. It was a typo. Of course California didn’t just bulldoze all single-family homes. The bill opens up zoning to multi unit housing. Yes. This is a climate issue as much as a housing issue. Density is more energy and resource efficient than sprawl. I also never said the climate bill that was passed was bad, just that zoning should also be considered by environmentally conscious legislators.

  14. - DuPage - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 3:48 pm:

    The local people in charge of zoning a local area are not going to give up their authority without a big battle.

  15. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 3:50 pm:

    ===The local people in charge of zoning a local area are not going to give up their authority without a big battle.===

    60/30, signature.


  16. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Sep 17, 21 @ 3:54 pm:

    If climate change is an issue of immediate need, I would suggest that attempting to change urban living patterns by zoning is probably the slowest tool in the toolbox one could possibly use.

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