Pritzker commits Illinois to joining U.S. Climate Alliance
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed an order committing Illinois to be the 18th state joining the U.S. Climate Alliance on Jan. 23 at Erin's Pavilion in Springfield, pledging the state will abide by the Paris Agreement.
Jennifer Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, said she is thrilled by the decision.
"We have just 12 years to limit carbon emissions," Walling said at the event. "This is so important for Illinois."
Also at the event, Jack Darin, Sierra Club Illinois Chapter director, said it was important that Illinois has a governor who believes in science.
"We can’t fix problems without admitting them," Darin said. "Climate change is a real problem. We have a decade to solve the problem before we lose the power to stop the problem entirely. Across the globe, leaders are changing away from fossil fuels."
Pritzker said his administration will stand on the side of science and reason.
"We know climate change is real and we know it’s a threat," Pritzker said. "There’s no disputing it any more. We know we must act."
Pritzker said committing Illinois to abide by the Paris Agreement is about protecting the beauty of the state’s natural resources.
"This is about making sure our state doesn’t get left behind in jobs and economic opportunity," Pritzker said. "We’re already on a path to 25 percent of energy coming from renewable energy sources by 2025. I think we have the ability to be 100 percent renewable energy."
Pritzker said Illinois can do this by making sure workers in changing industries receive the training they need.
"We need to focus on infrastructure," Pritzker said. "This must be a part of the conversation. We’re already experiencing the effects of climate change and this requires immediate action."
"The Paris Agreement holds us accountable," Pritzker said. "We can’t sit idly by and watch this. We should have a president who fights for higher standards."
The Paris Agreement builds upon the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and seeks to lower greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Each country that signed the agreement pledged to meet or exceed its goals.
President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from agreement in 2017.
The U.S. Climate Alliance encompasses 18 states that are committed to addressing climate change. Members commit to implementing policies that align with the Paris Agreement and aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate policies that reduce carbon emissions and promote clean energy.