Chicago Launches Website on Climate Change

The city of Chicago has launched a website dedicated to climate change based on information formerly found on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

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According to a press release, the launch was sparked by an April 29 announcement from the EPA that its own website was being updated “to reflect EPA’s priorities under the leadership of President [Donald] Trump and Administrator [Scott] Pruitt.”

“The Trump administration can attempt to erase decades of work from scientists and federal employees on the reality of climate change, but burying your head in the sand doesn’t erase the problem,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “We are going to ensure Chicago’s residents remain well informed about the effects of climate change.”

Topics related to climate change on the EPA website are today buried inside an “a to z” index, although most of the information available on the site before April 29 – including how and why the climate is changing – has been removed. A snapshot of what the site looked like on Jan. 19 is available for viewing, in addition to a press release about the changes.

On Chicago’s site, users can find information on the science behind climate change, how climate change impacts weather, and actions the federal government has taken to reduce the impact of climate change, according to the release.

The city also announced Sunday the creation of a tool that enables users to save, archive and preserve open data from public portals, such as the EPA site. 

During his campaign, Trump raised questions around the legitimacy of climate change and has since taken steps toward reversing some environmental regulations.  

Last September, the U.S. officially signed the Paris Agreement on climate change, expressing its efforts to join other nations in cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions. Both pundits and scientists have increasingly expressed concerns that Trump may pull the U.S. out of the pact.

Emanuel encouraged other cities, academic institutions and organizations to “follow suit” by launching similar websites, according to the release.

“Cities are becoming central in the climate fight. In the absence of federal leadership, this is a key moment for local action,” Henry Henderson, Midwest director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a press release.

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