Illinois now clear to reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions, act on climate change
SPRINGFIELD — Today, Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation that immediately repealed the Kyoto Protocol Act of 1998, a law prohibiting the state from creating restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change.
House Bill 3481, sponsored by State Sen. Laura Ellman (D – Naperville) and State Rep. Robyn Gabel (D – Evanston), comes two decades after Illinois adopted 415 ILCS 140/Kyoto Protocol Act of 1998.
“The Kyoto Protocol Act should never have been signed into Illinois law. It only served to limit our state’s ability to make decisions and prepare for the future,” said Sen. Ellman. “By signing this legislation, Gov. Pritzker is signaling that Illinois is ready to get serious about tackling emissions that cause climate change.”
HB 3481 takes effect on January 1, 2020.
“The world’s scientists are urging immediate action on climate change, but for two decades Illinois has been blocked from reducing these emissions because of an outdated, unfortunate ban on climate action. Gov. Pritzker’s signature today is an important step toward his goal of a 100% clean energy future for Illinois, and a strong and just climate action plan for our state that protects us all and invests in the clean energy economy,” said Rep. Gabel.
The Kyoto Protocol Act expressly prohibits 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.
“I believe that the United States, working with the international community, must aggressively address global climate change. Short of that, it is our local and state governments that must lead the charge in protecting our environment,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, opponent of the bill during her time in the General Assembly. “I have no doubt that our changing environment is due, in large part, to human activity. I have long supported federal legislation and other initiatives that focus on alternative fuel production, air and water quality improvement, and environment protection for our communities. Repealing this 1998 law now allows our state to forge ahead with vital policies and initiatives that will help protect our environment and preserve our planet.”
“Today Illinois takes a first step to being a leader in addressing the climate crisis that threatens all of our communities, and achieving Governor Pritzker’s vision of an Illinois powered by 100% clean energy built by our union workers,” said Jack Darin, director of the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter. “Scientists are urging bold action, and the economic benefits of clean energy can lift up disadvantaged communities and support a just transition away from fossil fuels. Trump may be taking America backward and out of the clean energy revolution, but today Illinois goes forward.”
“A majority of both chambers in the General Assembly have joined Gov. Pritzker in making it clear that Illinois needs to tackle climate change, but we won’t get there without a clear, comprehensive plan to do so,” said Jen Walling, executive director, Illinois Environmental Council. “With the governor’s signature, we are now positioned to lead on this issue, which means passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act.”
The Clean Energy Jobs Act (SB2132/ HB3624) addresses climate change head-on by leading Illinois to 100% clean energy, decarbonizing our power sector, electrifying our transportation sector, and providing economic development and job opportunities across the state.
“Communities across our state have suffered the consequences of short-sighted and irresponsible pollution for a long time,” said Pastor Scott Onque of Faith in Place. “The General Assembly passing this bill and the governor signing it are major steps in righting those wrongs and setting the stage for healing the land, water and air in the communities that have been neglected over the years.”