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Chicago carbon emissions reduced, across nation increased

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Staff Writer | January 26, 2017
Chicago has reduced its carbon emissions by 7% from 2010 to 2015, according to a new analysis.
Chicago street
Ecology   Shutting down a coal power plant for 8 months
This reduction in greenhouse gases came at the same time Chicago saw a 25,000 person increase in its population and 12 percent growth in the region’s economy and jobs within the city.

The emissions reduction, equivalent to shutting down a coal power plant for 8 months, compares to a 1 percentage increase in nationwide emissions from 2009 to 2014.

The preliminary analysis, developed by AECOM, and the first 2015 emissions inventory for any major North America city, estimates Chicago generated 30.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2015, compared to 33.3 million in 2010.

On a per capita basis emissions were reduced by 8%. The most significant reductions came from the energy used in buildings and construction.

Together, the energy used to power residential, commercial, and institutional buildings comprises 73% of Chicago’s greenhouse gas emissions, and emissions from this sector have been reduced by 10%.

Many of the decreases are due to lowered electricity consumption as well as switching to a less carbon-intensive fuel mix to power the electricity supply.