Bloomington-Normal Mayors Sign Climate Pledge | WGLT

Bloomington-Normal Mayors Sign Climate Pledge

Jun 9, 2017

A file photo of the former Ameren Corp., now Dynegy Inc., coal-fired power plant outside of the southern Illinois town of Newton.
Credit Jim Suhr / AP Photo

The community's mayors have signed the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda

Town of Normal Mayor Chris Koos and Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner both joined more than 250 other mayors in following the U.N. Paris Climate Accord even though President Trump announced he'd pull the U.S. from pact.

During GLT's Sound Ideas, Koos says cities are "ground zero for action in ameliorating these issues." 

"I think it's important  for the well being of our communities and the future of our communities and the future of children and grandchildren and the world we're going to leave them," said Koos. "I think it's important that cities do this kind of thing. Most of the built environment is in cities, most of the automobile traffic in and round cities." 

"I think what the administration did was unconscionable," said Mayor Renner. "We as mayors have an obligation in this dark time in our nation's history to provide positive leadership."

Renner said the U.S. chose to "go it alone on probably one of the most important environmental issues that has ever faced humanity."  

The Mayors National Climate Action Agenda plan calls for seven steps, including a regular Green House Gas inventory that would lead to targets to reduce GHG emissions by 80 percent by 2050, and a developing a climate action plan, which specifies strategies to reduce emissions. The Ecology Action Center is working on updating the GHG inventory and developing the first ever Bloomington-Normal Community Energy Strategic Plan (BNCESP). 

File photo of Michael Brown, Executive Director of the Ecology Action Center.
Credit Staff / WGLT

"The plan will be a broad based community effort to consciously and strategically set some targets for air quality," said Ecology Action Center Executive Director Michael Brown. "The plan would benefit public health and do our part to locally address climate change."

Brown said the community is already doing things. The BNCESP would be more specific, targeting transportation, for instance, the second highest source of emissions as indicated in the last GHG survey. 

"Transportation strategies would address those sources and encourage more bike, public transit use, and less single occupancy vehicle use," said Brown. 

"There's not a thing I don't agree with that's being pursued," said Renner, who added that green energy strategies make's good economic sense. Koos said he doesn't, for the most part, buy the argument that fighting climate change stifles the economy.

"Some of the fastest growing jobs sectors have to do with green jobs, solar panel installation, wind farms," said Koos. "I see a benefit out of that."  

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