Trump’s ruinous environmental policy on display in Illinois . . . and everywhere else

Our state and city should put up as big a bulwark as possible against the president’s attacks on all things green.

By Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board

Illinois already is experiencing the kind of effects scientists warned us would come with climate change. Lake Michigan has swung from a record low to such high levels that homes and infrastructure along its shores are threatened, and experts say volatile lake levels are part of our new normal. Incessant rains have limited farmers’ ability to grow crops.

This week, more than 11,000 scientists warned us that people around the world are on the way toward “untold suffering” because of climate change.

So what is President Donald Trump’s administration doing about that?

Trying to make climate change worse, of course.

Both Illinois and Chicago should work to counteract Washington’s mistaken and dangerous policies wherever and whenever possible. Apparently, Trump wants all the “untold suffering” he can get.

Here is what the Trump administration is up to:

On Monday, it gave its formal notification to the United Nations that it would pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. The agreement was only a down payment on what needs to be done, and Trump isn’t even willing to take that step.

In September, leading climate scientists reported that in recent years the rise in sea levels, the warming of the Earth, the shrinking of ice sheets and carbon pollution have all accelerated. Last month, the National Audubon Society said climate change is threatening two-thirds of America’s birds with extinction.

In January, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose nearly 3 percent in 2018, the biggest jump since 2010, making it clear we are not doing enough to turn things around.

In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said she plans to bring back the city’s Department of the Environment.

But in Illinois, it appears this year’s signature environmental law, the Clean Energy Jobs Act, which is designed to move the state to 100% clean energy by 2050, won’t be brought up in the fall veto session. The bill should be at the top of the Legislature’s to-do list when it convenes in January.

Illinois can’t stop the Trump administration from attacking the environment and climate. But we can put up as big a bulwark as possible to protect our state and our planet.

Read the entire editorial at the Chicago Sun-Times.