Quigley Leads Illinois Democrats in Urging Governor Rauner to Maintain State’s Commitment to Paris Agreement
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), Vice Chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), joined his Democratic colleagues in the Illinois delegation on a letter sent to Governor Rauner asking him to maintain the State of Illinois’ commitment to the Paris Agreement, following President Trump’s disastrous decision to withdrawal the United States’ participation.
“Because it is good for the residents of Illinois and because it is the right thing to do, we feel that the State of Illinois should publically commit to do its part to meet the existing Paris Agreement goals with or without formal U.S. participation in the Agreement, and to subsequently take actions to do so,” read the letter. “Thirteen other states, as well as 175 cities, including Chicago, have already taken this step… We owe it to the people of our state to act with the urgency required to address this threat head-on and we must take the action necessary to protect our state – and our planet – for future generations, regardless of the Trump Administration’s recent decision.”
Click here for the signed letter or see full text below.
Representatives Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Brad Schneider (IL-10), Bobby Rush (IL-01), Luis Gutierrez (IL-04), Danny Davis (IL-07), Bill Foster (IL-11), Robin Kelly (IL-02), Dan Lipinski (IL-03), and Cheri Bustos (IL-17) also signed the letter.
We the undersigned Members of Congress from the State of Illinois write to you in the wake of the Trump Administration’s misguided and unfortunate decision to begin the process of removing the United States from the international agreement to address the growing and serious threat of climate change forged in Paris in December 2015.
Climate change is perhaps the biggest threat facing our generation. As man-made greenhouse gasses accumulate in the atmosphere, the planet is warming and as a result, weather patterns are changing, ice is melting and driving global sea levels higher, and the ocean is acidifying. Increased air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels and changes to natural resources that people depend on all over the world are threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans and billions globally.
Illinois is not immune from the impacts of climate change. Projections for our state indicate that temperatures in Illinois could increase by as little as two and as many as twelve degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century, with some parts of the state seeing as many as 25 more days with temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit per year than we see now. Already, our region has seen a 37% increase in severe precipitation incidences in the last half century, a trend that is highly likely to continue to grow moving forward. The impact that the changing temperature and precipitation patterns will have on the agriculture, transportation infrastructure, and day-to-day lives of the residents of Illinois is hard to overstate and impossible to ignore.
The Paris Agreement represents the collective will of 195 nations to address the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change and to work to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. As with most important international efforts, U.S. leadership was vital in galvanizing the effort and enthusiasm necessary to reach the ambitious agreement. However, climate action is happening around the world and many countries will continue moving forward to reach their international emission reductions commitments with or without us, seizing the opportunities of the transition to a low-carbon economy in the process. If the U.S. is no longer leading these efforts, there is a very real threat that another country, such as China, will step in to reshape the international system to their liking, without consideration for our interests or the interests of free and democratic societies around the world.
Because it is good for the residents of Illinois and because it is the right thing to do, we feel that the State of Illinois should publically commit to do its part to meet the existing Paris Agreement goals with or without formal U.S. participation in the Agreement, and to subsequently take actions to do so. Three other states, California, Washington, and New York, as well as 83 cities, including Chicago, have already taken this step.
The opportunities for Illinois in job growth, locally-produced clean energy, clean air, and elsewhere are worth billions to our state’s economy. The risks in property loss, decreased agricultural productivity, and increased healthcare costs are potentially devastating.
The international community must recognize the commitment of Americans to address the climate crisis, even if the American federal government fails to lead.
We owe it to the people of our state to act with the urgency required to address this threat head-on and we must take the action necessary to protect our state – and our planet – for future generations, regardless of the Trump Administration’s recent decision.