Thursday, August 16, 2007

Chicago Green Drinks

Nothing like a cold beer to jolt me out of what is commonly known as environmental fatigue. I keep myself upbeat and optimistic most of the time. However, a series of bad news this summer took the joy out of blogging. Raging wild fires, droughts, heat waves, floods and what not! Images of people precariously perched on tin roofs waiting for flood waters to recede can make any person feel blue. Millions of people increasingly affected and displaced by unpredictable and extreme weather.

Now getting back to the beer... Chicago Green Drinks is a monthly event here in the city where sustainability minded folks meet, socialize, get a little happy drunk, discuss and listen to local sustainability gurus. The idea originally started in London and soon spread to various parts of the world.

The speakers at this green drinks were from Chicago Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), Chicago Department of Environment and The Clinton Foundation. The theme for the evening was "Working locally to reduce Global Warming". Mayor Daley was among the many mayors who pledged to reduce their city's global warming pollution by 7% below 1990 levels as part of the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. The presentation at the drinks was about how Chicago would achieve that target.

DOE has partnered with CNT to do the carbon footprint and inventory analysis. They talked about their audit process, assumptions and limitations. It turns out electricity and not transportation is the biggest carbon contributor here in Chicago. This is where the Clinton Foundation comes in. Clinton Climate Initiative is engaging the 40 largest cities to reduce their green house gas emissions and they are injecting about 5 billion dollars worth of energy efficiency building retrofits into these cities. Chicago is expected to get a fair share of that retrofits.

Retrofits aside, the city is pursuing several other programs to achieve the necessary reductions. I have to confess I had a little too much beer that day to comprehend all the details! The city is expected to publish their road map soon. All in all the presentation and the plan of action sounded good. 2012 is almost here. I hope Chicago meets its targets.

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