The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) conducts the regional greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory to understand emissions in northeastern Illinois: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties.
ON TO 2050, the comprehensive plan for northeastern Illinois, calls for the region to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent, relative to 2005 levels, by 2050. This target aligns with the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping global warming to below 2° Celsius (3.7° Fahrenheit).
The region is not currently on track to meeting the target. Between 2010 and 2019, overall GHG emissions decreased by 9 percent — an average of 1 percent each year. To meet CMAP's goal, the region needs to increase that to 5 percent annually through 2050.
To help communities reduce emissions and track progress toward long-term goals, CMAP created local emissions summaries for each of the region’s 7 counties, 284 municipalities, and 77 Chicago neighborhoods in northeastern Illinois. The summaries provide a snapshot of emissions from the building, transportation, and waste sectors. Due to the pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home orders, the inventory and local emissions summaries use 2019 data. Data from 2019 are more representative of long-term trends in the region than 2020.
Greenhouse gas emissions in the region
The region is not on track to meet CMAP’s emissions reduction target
Between 2010 and 2019, the region reduced its GHG emissions by 9 percent — an average of 1 percent each year. To meet our 2050 goal, the region will need to reduce emissions by 5 percent every year.
Transportation emissions continue to increase
Transportation emissions — almost entirely from cars, buses, and trucks — increased by 2 percent between 2010 and 2019. It is the only sector that saw an increase in emissions. Although fuel efficiency increased during this time, it was offset by an increase in total and per capita vehicle miles traveled.
Most GHG emissions come from buildings
Roughly two-thirds of the region’s emissions come from buildings, in the form of electricity or natural gas for heating and cooking. Electricity emissions have steadily decreased as the region’s electric grid transitions away from carbon-intensive fuel sources, such as coal, to less carbon-intensive sources, such as solar and wind. Emissions from natural gas remain unchanged.
Emissions vary greatly between counties
Chicago and Cook County produce the most emissions in absolute terms, but are the most efficient jurisdictions for emissions per capita and per job. Will County produces the most emissions per capita.