The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's new Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5° -- which warns of effects more severe by mid-century than previously projected -- calls for urgent action by policy makers, decision makers, and others. It predicts dire consequences that are not unique to coastal areas, including intense flooding, heat waves, drought, and other changes to natural systems that our region must begin to address now.
The ON TO 2050 comprehensive plan’s three overarching principles are Inclusive Growth, Resilience, and Prioritized Investment, all of which can affect -- and are already being affected by -- a changing climate. Our most vulnerable populations and communities will be disproportionately affected by more intense heat, flooding, and drought. And the region’s infrastructure, already under strain from years of deferred maintenance and lack of capital investment, will be further stressed by climate impacts.
ON TO 2050 encourages local governments and other partners to be proactive about implementing climate mitigation and resilience strategies. The Climate Resilience Strategy Paper and the Climate Adaptation Guidebook for Municipalities in the Chicago Region provide more detailed information about impacts and strategies that local governments can take to prepare their communities. The State of Illinois Future Energy Jobs Act also presents an opportunity for local governments to play a part in moving our region in the right direction on climate change. A recent New York Times article provides a simple guide to how each of us can reduce our individual carbon footprint.
Although local strategies might seem insignificant relative to the global challenge, by taking action as individuals, as communities, and as a region, together we can make a real impact.