As with any city in the world, Chicago must consider the changes that are inevitable with climate change. The Chicago Climate Action Plan is thus set forth to set a framework for Chicago and the region to deal with its impacts. It outlines 5 major areas of focus that the city, while teaming with a group of experts to decide which goals were most necessary and feasible.
They outline energy efficient buildings, clean & renewable energy sources, improved transit options, reduced waste & industrial pollution, and finally, climate adaptation. An action plan only sets a course of action; it does not codify any of the initiatives. It sets suggestions for what will allow us to adjust to a changing climate.
Of particular interest to me were the suggestions to combat the changing climate, or our city’s adaptation. This, I think, is particularly important due to the fact that it is the only thing that we can count on; the climate will change regardless of whatever else. The other initiatives require mass amounts of capital, immense political will, and have varying degrees of feasibility, structurally and politically in some cases. However, mitigation is a serious problem that has to be addressed quickly and creatively. Chicago seeks to do this through a few measures I think are interesting to highlight:
-Manage Heat, mainly combating the urban heat island effect
-Pursue innovative cooling, by educating land owners on plantings that will mitigate heat.
-Preserving our plants and trees for a changing climate and also finding new species that will flourish in Chicago’s changing climate, that is predicted to become warmer, rainier, with storms of increasing volume of water. Storm water management is also a major goal of climate change adaptation factors.
The factors related to mitigating heat to me are most interesting because they are closely entwined with our energy use overall. The hotter the weather, the more energy will be used cooling our homes and buildings, leading to increased emissions.