Today’s Solutions: July 01, 2022

Illinois has thrown a stake in the ground on climate change and equality and established a path towards a 100 percent clean energy future by 2050 with a new law. The bill, SB2408, received bipartisan support in both the Illinois House and Senate and takes on mitigating climate change, creating quality jobs, improving health, and supporting disadvantaged communities.

This bill came together with the following key goals as reported by the NRDC.

Slash climate-changing carbon pollution

The law includes plans to phase out fossil fuels in the power sector and requires the Prairie State Coal Plant, the state’s largest polluter and the seventh-largest emitter of carbon pollution in the country, to reduce its emissions by 45 percent no later than 2038 and to zero by 2045.

Expand economic opportunities 

The law aims to expand these opportunities specifically for disadvantaged communities and people of color by investing $115 million per year to create job training hubs and create career pipelines for the people who need them most, as well as incubate and grow small clean energy businesses.

Create good-paying clean energy jobs

Economic growth and a healthier environment go hand-in-hand, so Illinois already has already created more than 115,000 clean energy jobs, mostly in energy efficiency, with many in renewable energy and advanced transportation. This bill will grow all sectors of clean energy and the jobs that come with them and requires family-sustaining wages and benefits for most clean energy jobs in the state. The measure encourages union jobs while also ensuring that small businesses in disadvantaged communities can get a foothold.

Other tenets of the law include: 
  • Grow renewable energy generation more than five-fold.
  • Extend cost-saving energy efficiency programs.
  • Support communities and workers impacted by the transition away from fossil fuels.
  • Move towards cleaner buildings.
  • Provide limited support for nuclear plants.
  • Hold utilities accountable with stronger ethics rules and reforms.

Celebrated by many, birds are going to benefit from this new law as well as reported by the Audubon Great Lakes Society:

“Birds are telling us that the time to act on climate change is now, and today Illinois has stepped up to the challenge,” said Michelle Parker, Vice President and Executive Director for Audubon Great Lakes. “This bill gets us closer to reaching Audubon’s ambitious goal of achieving net-zero emissions to protect birds and people by setting Illinois on a path to 100 percent clean energy by 2050 while creating jobs for Black and Brown communities that too often are on the frontline of our climate crisis.”

This is an extraordinary advance in lawmaking collaboration and a brilliant way of identifying holistic solutions to improve communities and the health of our world. The Optimist Daily is a big fan of this kind of leadership.

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