Logan Square resident Shan Agarwal was on vacation last week in India when he saw the message on his laptop.
“We think it’s going to pass. Let’s get the press releases ready,” Agarwal said. Nevermind that it was 5 a.m. local time. He had worked over a year on this project, and he knew his team back in Chicago needed a hand.
A Chicago City Council resolution supporting a national bill to fight climate change called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 763) has made strides in our local government after Mayor Rahm Emanuel committed the City of Chicago Feb. 14 to an equitable transition to 100 percent clean energy.
On March 13, Chicago became the largest city to pass a municipal resolution in support of adopting national carbon fee and dividend legislation. The resolution was championed by the Chicago chapters of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, the same organization responsible for supporting the bipartisan legislation currently in the House.
There were 125 cities nationwide that passed resolutions calling on Congress to pass this type of bill, which would place a rising fee on the greenhouse gas content of fuels, with revenue from the fee being allocated to American households as a monthly dividend.
This resolution was co-authored in 2016 in a Logan Square apartment by then-resident Emily Church, who hoped to add Chicago to that list of
However, the resolution has been a slow process and its passing is greatly
Students Move the Resolution F
Youth have recently become some of the most powerful voices in advocating for climate action. It was ultimately a high school robotics team from Chicago’s Horizon Science Academy McKinley Park that brought the city council resolution to a vote.
“Through my robotics team we came in contact with the Citizens’ Climate Lobby which gives regular people like myself a tangible way to fight for climate restoration.” Said Evelyn Munoz, a senior at HSA.
The student activists earned the endorsement of the McKinley Park Development Council and successfully lobbied Alderman George Cardenas to bring the Resolution to a vote in the Committee on Health and Environmental Protection on March 11.
The students, pictured above, were invited to testify on March 11 to the Committee on Health and Environmental Protection.
“Passing this resolution shows that this city is willing to change for the better of the American people and the Earth as a whole,” Isabel Abarca, a sophomore at HSA, said during her testimony. “This policy not only helps the city and many different parts of the community transition to a safer and less polluted environment but it also helps the economy. Consumers who use less will benefit greatly through the dividend.”
Co-author Emily Church, speaking to the same committee, said, “Climate mitigation is not just smart risk aversion—done correctly, it is simply good economics.”
Alderman Ramirez Rosa-commented during the committee hearing.
“I certainly hope that our representatives in Congress hear this message that we’re sending by passing this resolution
A Unanimous V
Chicago’s Committee on Health and Environmental Protection voted unanimously to pass this resolution on March 11, and it was formally adopted after another unanimous vote during the March 13 City Council meeting.
The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is the first bipartisan carbon pricing legislation to be introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in nearly a decade.
With the City of Chicago speaking out in unison, let’s encourage Chicago-area Congressmen like Rep. Jesús García and Rep. Mike Quigley to take action by sponsoring the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.