Mayor Emanuel Calls for Powering Chicago with 100 Percent Clean Energy

Ready for 100 Chicago Collective applauds goal of 100 percent renewable electricity community-wide

Kyra Woods, Sierra Club Ready for 100 Action,

CHICAGO, IL -- Today Mayor Rahm Emanuel released Resilient Chicago, a roadmap for addressing the city’s most pressing challenges through the lens of urban resilience. As one of the 50 actionable initiatives detailed in Resilient Chicago, Mayor Emanuel announced the bold goal of powering the entire city with 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2035.

The Ready for 100 Chicago Collective was formed to advocate for an intentional, equitable, visionary, and community-informed transition to an affordable, locally powered, 100 percent clean energy future. The Collective, in coordination with the City of Chicago, hopes to formalize this 100 percent goal in a resolution that will be presented to the City Council at their March meeting. If passed, the City of Chicago will become the largest U.S. city to make the commitment to a 100 percent clean energy future. By grounding the transition in values of equity and justice, the Ready for 100 commitment seeks to enable strong community participation in strategy development and implementation of the community-wide energy transition.

In response, Kyra Woods, Sierra Club Ready for 100 Action Organizer, issued the following response:

“A goal of 100 percent clean energy is one of many bold steps that is needed to confront the climate crisis, and Sierra Club knows this commitment must be centered in equity and justice through the active leadership from Chicago's most impacted communities. The city's legacy of industrial pollution and economic divestment have unjustly burdened low-income and communities of color for decades -- which is why a 100 percent clean energy commitment must acknowledge environmental justice communities in Chicago that have been fighting for a just transition away from fossil fuels for decades, include a true community engagement plan that prioritizes the voices of impacted communities, and ensure integration of public health policies that recognize and respond to the needs of low-income and communities of color. The Sierra Club is looking forward to working with environmental justice leaders in Chicago, the members of the Ready for 100 Chicago Collective and all Chicagoans to build a stronger, more resilient Chicago for everyone.”

Other members of the Ready for 100 Chicago Collective issued the following responses:

“Achieving 100 percent clean energy is something that can produce real benefits for our communities if done in the right way. It’s important that a 100 percent renewable goal prioritizes public health, creates local economic development, and results in meaningful improvement for communities in our city. That is why as community members, we need to be involved in conversations and making decisions at every step of the implementation process towards this bold goal,” said Cheryl Johnson, Executive Director of People for Community Recovery.

“Our future and the future of our city is threatened by climate change. Youths bear the consequences of political inaction, which is why it is critical that we are actively engaged in shaping the policies that affect us. This is not only a time of urgency; this is a time of unique opportunity for us to form broad, inclusive coalitions and gather a diverse range of voices to envision and create a more just and green Chicago,” said Suzy Schlosberg, Chicago Youth Alliance for Climate Action Co-Director.

"A transition to 100 percent renewable energy would create local jobs, stimulate economic growth, and reduce health risks from lowered emissions. The resolution must call for the creation of a transition plan that mandates community involvement and ensures the City's long-disadvantaged communities are prioritized. Moreover, by working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the transition would represent a significant step towards intergenerational justice in affirming a habitable environment for young individuals in my generation and others," said Zarek Drozda, student at the University of Chicago.

“Burning fossil fuels decreases air quality, increases global warming and puts far too many people at risk for lung disease. Progress towards 100 percent clean, renewable energy can improve public health and help make the air safer for Chicago families living with lung disease, especially in low-income communities of color that still face significant health disparities,” said Brian Urbaszewski, Respiratory Health Association Director of Environmental Health Programs.

“With the Trump Administration ignoring the climate crisis, it is up to cities to take the lead in fighting climate change. We are happy to see Mayor Emanuel jumping in to take a leadership role in developing a clean energy future for our city and country,” said Cynthia Linton, Climate Reality Project, Chicago Chapter.

About the Ready for 100 Chicago Collective

The Ready for 100 Chicago Collective represents community voices that believe the time is now for an intentional, equitable, visionary and community-informed transition to an affordable, locally powered, 100 percent clean energy future for all residents of our city. The Collective includes dozen of Chicago organizations that have engaged together over the past two years for a 100 percent clean energy future.

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit