March 21, 2007

"Cool Cities" Act Passes Illinois Senate

On Tuesday the Illinois State Senate passed "The Illinois Cool Cities Act of 2007", which would help Illinois local governments who want to do their part to combat global warming get the job done. The bill, SB 1242, is sponsored by newly elected State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) (and pictured here), and is her first to pass the Senate.

"Cool Cities" are local governments that have signed the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, committing to cutting their greenhouse gas emissions to 7% below 1990 levels by 2012, the targets set by the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. Eleven Illinois cities are among 425 nationwide that have committed to these reductions, and more and more are showing interest each week.

The "Cool Cities Act" will help these communities meet these goals by offering them technical assistance from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in calculating their baseline (what their emissions were in 1990), and in quantifying how much pollution will be cut by different strategies. Cities that adopt plans to hit these targets are recognized as "Illinois Cool Cities". This will help ensure that goals and commitments translate into real reductions in pollution, and result in model strategies for ways to save energy that other communities can learn from.

Holmes is proving to be a real breath of fresh air in Springfield. This is an innovative approach to one of the most important challenges of our time. It now moves on to the Illinois House, where State Rep. Sid Mathias (R-Buffalo Grove) is the lead sponsor.