Are Chicago's mayoral aspirants climate hawks?
environmentalists across the board agree that Mayor Richard Daley proved to
be a surprising and sometimes inspiring steward of the environment. During
his tenure, Hizzoner championed green spaces, rooftop gardens, and
municipal building retrofits. He even unveiled an ambitious Climate
Action Plan to cut the city's carbon emissions by 25 percent over 10
years. Yet major environmental hazards -- poor air quality and excess
waste, namely -- went unaddressed. "We've made great strides, but it's
really just the beginning and we don't ever want to step back,"
Margaret Frisbie of the Friends of the Chicago River told the Tribune today. "We really want to keep the momentum going on all these great programs and initiatives, but then raise the bar."
To that end, a coalition of 17 organizations active in Chicago has unveiled the results
of a mayoral questionnaire based around its new Green Growth Platform
for the city. (We profiled that program a few weeks ago.) The results
should be encouraging for voters concerned about sustainability and
public health. All six remaining candidates agreed to move forward on
nearly every initiative identified, from improving energy efficiency and
requiring the use of clean diesel equipment on city construction jobs
to increasing transit funding and disinfecting the Chicago River. And
while reaching the outlined targets will depend on cooperation from
city, county, state, and federal officials, it's good to get these
assurances in writing before voters head to the polls. You can page
through their full answers here.