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Chicago Emissions Drop 11% As Rahm Slaps Trump On Climate Change

By Heather Cherone | September 18, 2017 2:24pm
 In December, Mayor Rahm Emanuel will host the heads of cities across North America to discuss climate change.
In December, Mayor Rahm Emanuel will host the heads of cities across North America to discuss climate change.
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DNAinfo/Heather Cherone

CITY HALL — Chicago reduced its carbon emissions by 11 percent from 2005 to 2015, putting the city well on its way meeting its self-imposed Paris Climate Agreement goals, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Monday.

In June, Emanuel announced that Chicago would adopt the guidelines of the Paris Agreement in an effort to combat climate change, despite President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the agreement. Chicago is 40 percent of the way toward meeting its 2025 goal, officials said.

Chicago reduced the amount of greenhouse gases during the past decade even as the number of city jobs grew 7 percent, city officials said.

"While the current administration buries its head in the sand on climate change, it is now up to Chicago and other cities to develop a sustainable 21st century economy," Emanuel said. "This report confirms that protecting the environment and growing jobs go hand in hand."

While in New York City Monday, Emanuel announced that Chicago will host the heads of cities across North America Dec. 4-5 to discuss climate change as part of fifth annual Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy's North American Climate Summit and the 2017 C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards.

The Paris Agreement calls for member nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Chicago generated 32.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2015 as compared with to 36.9 million tons in 2005, according to a final emissions inventory report analysis, developed by AECOM.

That is equivalent to the amount of energy needed to power 425,000 homes in a year, Chicago officials said.

Chicago recorded a two percent reduction in the amount of emissions coming from transportation, 13 percent from the amount of energy used to power buildings and 27 percent of the emissions generated by the city's solid waste, officials said.

Trump said the United States would exit the agreement in 2020 because it favors other nations over America and hurts the ability of American companies to create jobs.

Emanuel, who served as former President Barack Obama's first White House chief of staff, has long touted his commitment to environmental causes, including a promise to power Chicago's nearly 900 public buildings with renewable energy by 2025.

In addition, Emanuel forced two coal-fired power generation plants to close; imposed a seven-cents-per-bag fee to reduce litter and championed an effort to illuminate Chicago's streets with high-efficiency light bulbs.