Chicago Takes Climate-Change Action Online

Just before Christmas, the Chicago Department of Environment launched a redesigned Web site for its Chicago Climate Action Plan. The new site details some of the city’s goals for greenhouse-gas reduction (an 80 percent decrease from 1990 levels by 2050, with incremental reduction markers in the meantime), and it provides informational resources to residents: PDFs on the effects of climate change, suggestions for ways businesses can reduce carbon emissions, and a checklist of money-saving energy reductions.

CCAP’s isn’t the only city-run environmental site, and it’s not as comprehensive as, for example, New York’s PlaNYC page, which seems to be the gold standard in the field. But it ranked high in our quick survey of similar Web sites, many of which seemed surprisingly bare-bones; apparently most cities, even big ones like Los Angeles and exceptionally progressive ones like Portland, can’t or won’t commit to high-quality online resources of any type, let alone environmental ones (and you can forget about savvy Web-design). In that company, CCAP fares pretty well—easy enough to navigate, with relatively attractive graphics and a decent amount of information. It’s not spectacular, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Here’s hoping other cities follow suit.

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