State can now go beyond the federal government to take action on climate change

SPRINGFIELD — On Thursday, March 28th, the Illinois State House of Representatives voted to repeal the Kyoto Protocol Act of 1998, a law prohibiting the state from creating restrictions for the “purpose of addressing the adverse effects of climate change which in whole or in part reduces emissions of greenhouse gases.”

House Bill 3481, which is sponsored by State Rep. Robyn Gabel (D – Evanston), passed 66-44-1 and is on its way to the Illinois Senate. Once signed, HB3481 will immediately repeal state statute 415 ILCS 140/Kyoto Protocol Act of 1998. A Senate companion bill, (Senate Bill 2140) sponsored by State Sen. Laura Ellman (D – Naperville), is also before the general assembly for consideration this session.

“The fact is that the Kyoto Protocol Act should never have been signed into law. In retrospect, it’s obviously short sighted, but even when it was passed in 1998, legislators should have seen it for what it was: a bill that only limited our state’s ability to make decisions and prepare for the future,” said Rep. Gabel. “I’m very proud to sponsor this repeal and empower Illinois to embrace the growing clean energy economy.”

The Kyoto Protocol Act expressly prohibited Illinois from reducing carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions beyond the goals set for the United States in the Kyoto Protocol. In 2001, the U.S. withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, leaving Illinois tied to goals that the federal government no longer intended to meet due to the Act.

“Illinois is ready to lead, and repealing our state’s Kyoto Protocol Act ensures that Illinois can lead while the Federal government continues to not take climate change seriously,” said Kady McFadden, Deputy Director of the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club. “For the good of our health and the strength of our economy, Illinois should double down on climate action by passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act.”

“A majority of the Illinois House supports action on climate change and reducing Illinois’ carbon emissions. This General Assembly, along with our pro-climate action Governor are set to lead the nation on tackling this issue,” said Jen Walling, executive director, Illinois Environmental Council.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act (SB2132/ HB3624) would achieve a carbon-free power sector by 2030 in Illinois by putting the state on a path to 100% renewable energy by 2050 and reducing energy usage. By repealing the Kyoto Protocol Act, Illinois can now set its own greenhouse gas reduction goals.

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