Dear friends, readers, and fellow climate advocates,
Governor Pritzker announced on April 29 his own proposed legislation that addresses renewable energy and climate change, in addition to consumer protections. While we at 350 Chicago are pleased with some aspects of Pritzker’s Consumers and Climate First Act (HB4074 / SB2896), including his plan to phase out coal by 2030, his proposal to allow natural gas plants to operate until 2045 is deeply concerning. We cannot tolerate many years more of substantial emissions, including dangerous methane emissions, from natural gas production and power plants. Methane, the primary component of natural gas and a potent greenhouse gas, is released in leaks throughout the gas development supply chain. Methane has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after it reaches the atmosphere and has caused about 30 percent of global warming to date. A recent United Nations report found that cutting methane emissions is the strongest action available to slow global warming in the near term. For these reasons, the consequences of continuing to operate natural gas plants in Illinois would be disastrous for the climate.
Senator Bernie Sanders has proposed carbon-free electricity by 2030, and President Biden has committed to decarbonization of the power sector by 2035. New York, a state with substantially less nuclear energy than Illinois, will achieve 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040. Illinois, with its nuclear fleet, should be able to decarbonize earlier than 2045. In addition, declining caps on emissions should be as tight as possible, and no new natural gas plants should be built. We call on Governor Pritzker and legislators in the General Assembly to set a more ambitious goal for the decarbonization of the power sector in Illinois. Doing so is essential for addressing climate change and avoiding its worst consequences for future generations of Illinoisans.
The Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) is gaining momentum. Last month, it passed out of the House Energy and Environment Committee. This extremely important bill will set an ambitious goal for decarbonization of the power sector in Illinois and put the state on a path to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. We need all the support we can get to make sure the General Assembly passes a strong energy bill this spring.
You can take action in multiple ways
- Join CEJA collective action calls sponsored by Sunrise Movement, Sierra Club, the People’s Lobby, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, and 350 Chicago. These calls will be on May 15 at 1:00 pm and on May 18 at 7:00 pm. Sign up here: https://www.mobilize.us/sunrise/event/388531/. These calls will focus in part on decarbonization.
- Participate in CEJA phone banks, organized by the Sierra Club and Clean Power Lake County, which are scheduled on weekdays for the rest of the month. Sign up here for a shift that works for you. Then, you can join a Zoom call with activists from across the state, where you’ll be given a quick training and a link to a phone bank that you can access directly from your computer. You’ll need a computer with internet access and a phone to participate.
- Call your state legislators in support of CEJA.
- Find your elected officials (State Senator and Representative) using your address here. (Your State Senator will be the second person listed “Senate District #...” and your State Representative will be the third person listed “Representative District #...”)
- Call their office numbers (which you’ll see when you look them up). Tell them you’re a constituent, and that you want them to do everything in their power to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act (HB 804/SB 1718) as soon as possible.
- If you want, you can look up ahead of time to see if your legislator is a co-sponsor. If they’re a co-sponsor, thank them! If they’re not yet, ask them to become a co-sponsor! (You can check whether they are one for the House here, and for the Senate here.)
- One of the major components of CEJA is a goal to decarbonize the power sector. Setting such a goal is very important if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Please consider mentioning to your representatives that you support legislation that includes an ambitious decarbonization goal.
- Call Governor Pritzker in support of CEJA.
Calling Governor Pritzker
Use this link to call Governor Pritzker. (Once you put your info in, the system will call your phone and connect you to the governor's office.) Through this link, we are able to track the number of calls being made to support CEJA. You also will be able to get connected to a person or answering machine, without having to hang up and dial multiple numbers.
If you'd prefer to dial directly, you can use any of the following numbers:
You can use the following as a script for your call:
“Hi, my name is [YOUR NAME], I’m a registered voter in [YOUR CITY], and it’s really important to me that the governor does everything he can to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act HB 804 / SB 1718 as soon as possible.” Note in your call as well that you support legislation that includes an ambitious goal for the decarbonization of the power sector.
Note: We have folks who are committing to call Governor Pritzker one day a week until CEJA is passed. This way, every week, the governor is getting at least 100 calls about CEJA. If you can commit to calling one day a week, please email Sierra Club volunteer Portia ([email protected]). She’ll assign you to a day and send you a reminder!
Thank you for taking time to help get a strong energy bill passed this month!