The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Illinois

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Just in the past three years, the Trump administration has attempted to roll back at least 95 environmental rules and regulations to the detriment of the environment and Americans’ public health. Moreover, the administration refuses to act to mitigate the effects of climate change—instead loosening requirements for polluters emitting the greenhouse gases that fuel the climate crisis. This dangerous agenda is affecting the lives of Americans across all 50 states.

Between 2017 and 2019, Illinois experienced two floods and 10 severe storms. The damages of each event led to losses of at least $1 billion.

Impacts of climate change

Extreme weather

Temperature

  • Illinois currently averages five days per year of heat exceeding dangerous levels, but projections indicate that number will increase tenfold to nearly 50 days per year by 2050. This endangers the lives of the more than 310,000 people in Illinois who are especially vulnerable to extreme heat.
  • Peoria, Illinois, is the 22nd fastest-warming city in the United States.

Impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies

Climate

  • In March 2020, the Trump administration announced its final rule to overturn Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for cars. These weakened fuel standards will lead to higher greenhouse gas and particulate matter emissions and will cost Illinois residents $557 million
  • The Trump administration is attempting to gut climate considerations from major infrastructure projects by eliminating the “cumulative impact” requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act. This is concerning because Illinois’ economy relies heavily on its agriculture, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries—all of which are highly dependent on climate and weather conditions.
    • Agriculture: Agriculture is the top industry in Illinois in terms of economic impact, contributing nearly $9 billion to the state’s economy annually. The food and fiber sector employs 5 million Illinois workers.
    • Tourism: In 2018, tourism in Illinois generated nearly $10 billion in economic impact and supported more than 342,300 jobs.
    • Outdoor recreation: The outdoor recreation industry in Illinois generates 200,000 direct jobs and nearly $25 billion in consumer spending.

Toxics

Air quality

  • Mercury emissions in Illinois decreased by nearly 80 percent from 2011 to 2017, yet the Trump administration just undermined limits on the amount of mercury and other toxic emissions that are allowed from power plants.

Water quality

To read the personal stories of Americans affected by climate change and the impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies in your state, visit OurEnvironment.org.