Despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change, the City of Highland Park, IL remains committed to the goals of the agreement. In December 2015, nearly 200 nations came together in Paris to develop a framework and subsequently signed an agreement to protect the planet for generations to come. Under the agreement, each country submitted a climate-action plan laying out how it would mitigate global warming. The City of Highland Park has a long history as a leader of sustainability initiatives and will continue to proactively work towards local climate action.
“The President’s decision ignores the benefits of comprehensively and collaboratively tackling climate change. I am proud to be a longtime member of and stand with the Compact of Mayors, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, Climate Mayors and so many others in uniting to protect our fragile planet,” stated Mayor Nancy Rotering. “Our communities should be safe, healthy places to live and raise children – with clean air and water, free from the dangers of toxic pollution. We must continue to regulate, monitor, and enforce standards that hold fossil fuel polluters accountable for meeting the requirement of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and other longstanding and proven safeguards to public health, safety, and the environment. For the health of the planet, the public, and our economy, our nation must move to a clean energy future. Every decision we make must consider how we can combat climate change.”
Highland Park signed on to the Kyoto Treaty in 2005, the City’s first official step on its sustainability journey. In 2006, the City opened a Recycling Drop-Off Site, and by 2008 the City had formed the Green Initiatives Alliance to enable Highland Park government agencies and the business community to collaborate on sustainability initiatives. Beginning in 2009, the City created a community-wide sustainability master plan that was funded through revenues from the commercial and multi-family refuse and recycling franchise. The Sustainability Strategic Plan provides direction in ten goal areas as to how the City and Alliance partners can improve levels of sustainability. The Plan was approved in 2010 with recommendations implemented annually. The Plan is currently being updated to a short-term strategic plan with measurable goals. Among highlights are the use of biodiesel in City trucks, approval and promotion of the infrastructure supporting and the implementation of a Bike-Walk Plan, replacement of high energy lights with LEDs, replacing any trees that are removed, use of hybrid buses in the City’s PACE bus fleet, vigorous open land preservation programs, and the largest recycling program in Lake County.
In 2013, the City of Highland Park received an Honorable Mention for the U.S. Conference of Mayor's Climate Protection Award. The City was recognized for its comprehensive electric vehicle expansion plan and leadership role in increasing the electric vehicle infrastructure along with other work completed to improve residential energy efficiency.
“Every effort in reducing our carbon footprint is impactful. Together, cities and villages can continue to make progress in reducing carbon emissions despite our President’s failure to provide leadership at this critical time in our world’s history,” said Mayor Rotering.
For more information, please contact the City Manager’s Office at 847.926.1000 or visit http://www.cityhpil.com/environment/index.php.