City Council declares climate emergency in Evanston City Council declares climate emergency in Evanston

Daily archive photo by Angeli Mittal

The Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center. City Council unanimously passed a resolution Monday night declaring a climate emergency in Evanston.

City Council unanimously passed a resolution declaring a climate emergency in Evanston and implementing an immediate mobilization effort to restore climate stability on Monday evening.

The resolution passed following a statement by Mayor Daniel Biss, who recognized the family of Adam Abaijan, the city’s recreation Lakefront Operations Program Manager. Abaijan died on Wednesday.

The resolution says the city will increase its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He asks the city council to implement the climate action and resilience plan as the main objective of the council. CARP’s goals include 100% renewable electricity for all properties by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050.

The climate emergency resolution was co-presented by Mayor Daniel Biss, Aldes. Eleanor Revelle (7th) and Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) and the Evanston Environmental Council.

“I wholeheartedly endorse the climate emergency concept, especially as it is associated with 22 concrete actions that we commit to taking this year,” Nieuwsma said. “I’m less frustrated and more optimistic now after this vote passed.”

The city adopted CARP in 2018, setting ambitious goals to tackle the climate at the local level. However, more recently, some residents have critical youhe plans to be too vague.

Monday’s resolution will provide the city with a more specific timeline for legislation and projects. The board hopes to stay accountable and on track.

Shortly before the city council’s vote on the climate emergency resolution, Cara Pratt, Evanston’s sustainability and resilience coordinator, presented a CARP update. She said the city has met its goal of 100% renewable energy for municipal operations by 2020.

“City government is more nimble than other levels of bureaucracy while still having the power to enact creative legislation that has a tangible impact on the lives of our neighbors and neighborhoods,” Pratt said. “At the same time, the urgency to act on climate change is increasing.”

Pratt said the city is also on track to meet many CARP goals, including reducing building energy use by 2025, achieving 100% renewable energy supply for all Evanston properties by 2030 and reducing building energy use by 25% by 2025.

However, the city is not on track for other key goals within CARP, such as zero waste, carbon neutrality for municipal operations, increasing the rate of community waste diversion, and planting. 500 net new trees by 2025.

Pratt said achieving those goals would cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

“That doesn’t mean it should cost local taxpayers money,” Pratt said. “I think that means we as a team have to think about creative solutions to find ways to fund as well as continue to solidly staff many of the city departments that have a stake in different aspects of this. plan.”

Pratt said the most urgent hires include a staff member who can enforce the energy and water benchmarking ordinance and additional staff at the Forest Department.

Some Evanston Township High School students came to speak in favor of Resolution 32-R-22. A sophomore read testimonials written by high school students at the first ETHS climate justice conference. They said the implementation of CARP is crucial for young people in particular.

“CARP would allow the children of Evanston to enjoy a better quality of life,” they said. “A student wrote: ‘I’m terrified for our future. I’m terrified of the irreparable damage and lives lost due to climate change, and I’m afraid of being complacent.

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