Environmental Plan

Kam's Plan to Fight Climate Injustice

Environmental justice and sustainability is an existential issue that needs a dedicated plan, innovative thinking, and bold solutions to tackle. That commitment needs to begin in the Mayor’s office with real leadership, and extend to City Council and Departments across the city to create a solution that is comprehensive, thorough, and effective. As Mayor, I am committed to bringing together the team and the solutions Chicago needs to begin tackling climate change head-on. 

I have a proven track record fighting for the kinds of solutions that can make a difference on climate change. I founded the Lake Shore Caucus to address erosion issues on Lake Michigan and create solutions across our state. I was a co-sponsor on the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, which passed in 2021, and continues to be the most consequential and comprehensive clean energy bill passed in the United States. I’ve committed to investing in CTA, electrifying our buses, and improving our non-automobile infrastructure. We need a leader in City Hall who will make these commitments and make sure these solutions are implemented equitably across our city.

Chicago can – and should – be a leader in the fight against climate change and climate injustice. We will need to partner with the State and Federal government to get the resources we need and implement a comprehensive solution, and we’ll need to learn from what other major cities are doing to begin to make progress. It will take all of us to do this right. I know how to bring people together, and I’m prepared to be the Environmental Mayor that Chicago needs today and our children need for a better tomorrow.

ESTABLISH DEDICATED ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE & CLIMATE EFFORTS IN THE CITY

  • Establish, staff, and fully fund the Department of Environment (DoE); appoint a Commissioner to lead the department, rather than a Director, to ensure institutional integrity that is not subject to mayoral inaction. Task the DoE with creating a comprehensive plan to address existing environmental threats across Chicago.
  • Create a comprehensive Climate Blueprint Plan within the first 100 days. The plan will target reduction of emission targets and a decrease in consumption of non-local, non-renewable, non-recyclable energy, water, materials and fuels.
  • Invest in a true and robust City of Chicago Property Assessed Clean Energy Program to align with work going on at County level for low cost, energy efficient financing.
  • Reconfigure the zoning process for industrial areas and serial pollution/sacrifice zones to make them people-centered and ensure no community is unnecessarily burdened.
  • Streamline processes to create a pathway for mitigation of pollution heavy industries and operations.

 

CREATE GREEN INITIATIVES

  • Implement a plan to reach 100% renewable energy by 2035 in residential and commercial sectors, in line with the recently passed Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, the most comprehensive and consequential clean energy bill in this country’s history.
  • Invest in Green infrastructure through climate bonds; leverage these bonds to bring capital to Chicago both directly and indirectly through investment in green buildings, renewable energy, water systems, clean vehicles, transport systems and more. 
  • Establish a Zero Energy Construction Code that requires projects to demonstrate that submitted building plans are designed to achieve a zero energy outcome. Require Zero Energy Outcome Policy and Zero Carbon Code for new buildings.
  • Find opportunities to retrofit warehouse and heavy emission buildings to “Waste to Energy” facilities.

 

ESTABLISH CLEAN WATER RESOURCES

  • Create and implement a comprehensive plan for lead service line replacement. Split the city up into priority zones and utilize federal dollars that are already in place to do this work without further debt burden on Chicagoans. Establish a skills training program that will create jobs to do this work.
  • Coordinate with the Illinois Waterway system to put in a concerted effort to protect Lake Michigan, including constructing physical protections. 
  • Work with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago to develop an alternative solution to the current combined sewer system.
  • Commit to installing complete green infrastructure and permeable environmental fixes to ease flooding from large rain events.
  • Put flood mitigation mechanisms into place in communities like Chatham that have been historically at risk.
  • Foster coordination with the Chicago River, Des Plaines River and Calumet River as spelled out in the Great Rivers Chicago plan. 
  • Commit to a limestone conservation approach for Promontory Point Park; work with the Army Corps and other relevant agencies to ensure this historic landmark is protected and preserved.

 

DEVELOP GREEN SPACES

  • Expand upon the Openlands Plan, set to be instituted by 2023, to create even more open spaces with a focus on nature, wildlife, and aviary protections.
  • Increase urban agriculture areas by creating greater opportunities for Urban farmers to develop land through business licenses and incentives.

 

IMPROVE WASTE MANAGEMENT

  • Invest in developing city-operated end-use compost programs.
  • Set a concrete, data-backed waste diversion goal and establish metrics to track progress.
  • Reduce city reliance on single use plastics.

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The Plan

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Together, we can put Kam’s 4 Star Plan into immediate action.