• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Chicago Prepares for Global Warming Apocalypse . . . Sort of

    The City of Chicago is preparing for the absolute worst.

    No, it’s not the financial crunch they’re worried about. While cities across the country are considering closing libraries, cutting services and even pleading for bankruptcy in order to avoid economic Armageddon, the Windy City is preparing for a global-warming-induced environmental apocalypse. The New York Times reports on the dire predictions and what Chicago plans to do about it:

    If world carbon emissions continued apace, the scientists said, Chicago would have summers like the Deep South, with as many as 72 days over 90 degrees before the end of the century. For most of the 20th century, the city averaged fewer than 15 . . .

    But what would that mean in real-life consequences? A private risk assessment firm was hired, and the resulting report read like an urban disaster film minus Godzilla.

    The city could see heat-related deaths reaching 1,200 a year. The increasing occurrences of freezes and thaws (the root of potholes) would cause billions of dollars’ worth of deterioration to building facades, bridges and roads. Termites, never previously able to withstand Chicago’s winters, would start gorging on wooden frames.

    What kind of steps is Chicago taking to avert disaster? Well, that all depends, as The New York Times reports:

    “We put each of the priorities through a lens of political, economic and technical,” said Suzanne Malec-McKenna, the commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Environment. “What is it, if you will, that will pass the laugh test?”

    Among the ideas rejected, Ms. Malec-McKenna said, were plans to immediately shut down local coal-powered energy plants — too much cost for too little payback.

    Parsing the political doublespeak, Chicago is undertaking actions that it can afford, that it can pass through city council, and that are technically achievable. So, for example, eliminating coal energy plants won’t make the cut (there are 21 such plants in Illinois, two in Chicago alone). Instead, the city is changing the way it paves alleys (to help cope with additional rainwater); planting different kinds of trees (more suitable for hotter climates); considering air-conditioners for all of its schools; and using thermal radar to map the city’s hottest spots, “which are then targets for pavement removal and the addition of vegetation to roofs.”

    What will all this cost? Will the scaled-back efforts help Chicago cope with the effects of the global warming it fears?

    It’s hard to say, at least based on The New York Times‘ reporting. There’s nary a word about the overall budget (just a brief mention of what it costs to transform one alley and how much Chicago spends each year on trees). And there’s no critical examination of whether the city’s efforts will deliver results. Instead, the reader is treated to a series of broad predictions about the potential effects of global warming and some feel-good attaboys for Chicago’s progressive foresightedness.

    Purely by accident, The New York Times’ writer stumbles on an important truth. Scientists have made varied predictions about the effects of global warming, and the proposed solutions are incredibly costly, to the point of being financially and technologically untenable. Likewise, on a national scale, policies like cap-and-trade and renewable energy standards would destroy millions of jobs and cost trillions in lost economic growth but have no noticeable impact on the earth’s temperature.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    22 Responses to Chicago Prepares for Global Warming Apocalypse . . . Sort of

    1. mike, Phoenix, AZ says:


    2. James Benison says:

      Well Buddy,

      What the climate scientists have been trying to say for decades is that global warming is an undeniable problem.

      You might not like all of the proposed ways to deal with it. Some of them may be completely off base. But doing nothing is not going to make the problem go away.

    3. David Stephen, Surul says:

      Global warming is real, this was recently admitted by the Australian PM after receiving a panel report, skeptics that have the privilege of talking and being heard voice their issue with this and how much of natural and anthropogenic activities contribute to it.

      Same goes for the ozone layer, found having holes some decades back, have being an issue of debate within the scientific community and without. Both sides have facts, most of which can be correct; we need to protect ourselves and the environment without arming disunity that forestall progress.

      I believe we should look towards science research works that have objective of mitigating these issues, modelling, cutting and capping, stratospheric recovery and all. These may not be necessary for now but should be developed and saved for the future when the need will arise.

      A research on ozone hole solution, that suggests using aerodyne or aerostat to trasnport liquid oxygen to depleted parts of the ozone layer for discharge as gas in order to artificially repair the hole is available online:

      The developing research takes eye of controversy and is focused on solution.

    4. Pingback: PA Pundits - International

    5. R Holland, Chandler, says:

      Global warming is a natural part of the earth's cycle. Nothing can change the cycle or its effect on humans. We can only adapt or die along with all the other species on the planet.

    6. MrShorty, Cave Creek says:

      I do believe that there is climate change, but the cause has not been properly studied and/or the data has been "adjusted" to meet desired objectives. The mentality of the "politically correct" is that the end always justifies the means and as a result, all projections are suspect. The American people will never get a straight answer as long as the current, corrupt government is in charge of amassing the data and interpreting it.

    7. Tim Az says:

      I say let Chicago travel this path. The rest of America needs an example of enviro-socialist failings. Chicago could then be turned into a world heritage sight that demonstrates the destruction of socialism and the Chicago way. Had enough yet?

    8. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      With all of the evidence that has been exposed in the past few years that have proved the absolute fraud and manipulation of climate info the left has used to push for "wealth distributution", it's amazing that their are still those that refuse to accept the decepion.

      Many of us believe that their is "climate change". But since time began, the climate has always been changing. Man has absolutely no effect despite what

      the left believes without proof, just feel good emotions.

    9. Bill B, Michigan says:

      A cheaper and more available solution would be to limit the amount of time all elected officials are permitted to expound or vacillate on subjects, especially those they know little about (virtually all).

    10. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      Climate "scientists" said global cooling was a problem with dire consequences 3-4 decades ago. Now it's global warming. Maybe when I retire, it will be global cooling. Wait a minute…this sounds like a natural cycle!

      For argument sake, I'll accept the premise of man-made climate change. Our attempts to deal with it sound like our attempts to deal with the budget and energy. We think tweeking the edges by planting more trees, cutting Congressional salaries or earmarks and building more windmills will eliminate climate change, solve budget woes and make us energy independent, respectively. What it really takes is shutting down the coal-fired plants, drastically reforming entitlements (such as the Ryan plan) and drilling for more oil. Of course, the first and last items are diametrically opposed.

    11. Jill-Maine says:

      Chicago VS the Sun My money is on the Sun.

    12. Yevette, California says:

      This just blows me away. What a joke. Besides that fact that "global warming" is complete BS, you expect us to believe… "with as many as 72 days over 90 degrees before the end of the century"… "The city could see heat-related deaths reaching 1,200 a year." – are you telling me people in Chicago will just start dropping dead if the it stays at 90 for too long?? What about the people in California and Arizona and other states that get that every year?? And many of those days are well over 100 degrees. Do they grow people in Chicago that are heat intolerant? Not only is it not going to happen, but this is just total fear mongering designed to get people on board with carbon taxes.

    13. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Chicago is a joke! I wish they would just pile all their taxpayer's money up and burn it in the street! Get it over with! Because the whole Greenhouse Gas Junk Science is a Kloward-Piven scheme to wreck the American Economy! Didn't the Ice Age scrape out that big Lake behind Chicago? Idiots! Worry about that! You Illinois nuts have already destroyed your State Economy! You don't need the Green Machine to finish you guys off! You have the Chicago Mobsters taking over the Federal Government after bleeding Chicago Citizens dry! You guys in Illinois ought to call it! Bankrupt! Then maybe you will learn that Socialism Never Works! That way you creeps will quit promoting failure for the rest of us!

    14. Thomas in San Diego, says:

      It is astounding that any adults are still gulled by the man-made global warming hoax. They must reside at the bottom of the Bell curve.

    15. Jonathan Wojcik says:

      Human activity has had a negative impact on climate. FACT. Studied conducted by researches of every imaginable background have supported the same conclusions even unintentionally. No scientist has ever stood to gain anything from falsifying "Anthropogenic" Climate Change data, and the wildly popular argument that we're just in a "natural" warming cycle is laughably fallacious, people should at least TRY to look into the science before opening their fat mouths with denial.

    16. Ben Dunham, Marion, says:

      I sent the following letter to The New York Times:

      The planting of trees and other vegetation and the use of permeable paving in Chicago ("City Prepares for a Warm Long-Term Forecast") is an admirable response to the well-known "urban heat island" effect, but we shouldn't link these steps to climate change. NASA's website "Climate at a Glance" shows that there has been relatively little warming in this area. In the years since 1945 (the period of my lifetime, comparable to the lifetime of many trees!), the upward trend in Illinois has been only .03 deg.F/decade, or less than 1/3 of a degree in a century, surely not enough to worry a White Oak or Northern Maple. The temperatures for Indiana show the same modest trend, as do those for the entire Central region of the United States. For example, the average temperature in the 12 months before May 1945 in the Central US region was 54.9 degrees F.; in the 12 months before May 2011, the temperature was 54.6 degrees F.

      And the proposal to add air-conditioning to Chicago's public schools must have more to do with other goals, perhaps extending the school year, since the resulting energy use and heat throw-off will surely offset the gains of planting of many, many trees.

    17. Don, Kansas City says:

      Budgets and deficits are mere inconvenient truths for the "progressive" crowd. Perhaps when the good people of Chicago tire of paying taxes for this fraudulent socialist fantasy, they will opt as Reagan suggested to "vote with their feet" and head to more conservative climes.

    18. Don, Kansas City says:

      Ooops, looks like the citizens of Chicago are already voting -


    19. Russell C says:

      I'd think that global warming believers would try harder to disprove the skeptic scientists rather than try to marginalize them, if they want to win over public opinion. But now it appears one central point that Gore uses to defend his side – that skeptic scientists are corrupt and untrustworthy – has enormous problems associated with it. See: "Smearing Skeptic Scientists: What did Gore know and when did he know it?"

    20. Jeff, Chicago area says:

      For residents of Chicago, concerns regarding heat-related deaths are both real and far from trivial. According to CDC figures, a five-day heat wave here in July 1995 resulted in 485 deaths attributable directly to the heat, plus several hundred in which the heat was an aggravating factor. A second heat wave in 1999 resulted in 103 heat-related deaths; this lower figure was attributed in part to measures instituted following the 1995 disaster.

      Those who live in other parts of the country may be unaware of factors that aggravate the impact of a heat wave here in Chicago. Many residents here still tolerate occasional periods of extreme heat and humidity with stoic acceptance; for many — particularly the elderly and poor — air conditioning is not an affordable option. (In some neighborhoods, even leaving windows open can be an invitation to crime.) Given the high-density of city dwellings and pavement, the temperature does not drop significantly at night, so we do not have those few hours of respite enjoyed by those who live in desert climes. Moreover, temperature inversion layers trap urban pollutants at the surface and an aging electrical grid is subject to blackouts when demand is high.

      Readers of this blog may dispute whether climate change is real. But questioning the character of Chicagoans (who manage admirably well in harsh winters ) is mean-spirited, as is belittling the city’s attempts to avoid preventable deaths among its citizens.

    21. Al, Chicago says:

      HAHAHAH, bring the heat on, it's getting colder and colder here despite all the experts bs readings over parking lots. Just finished high school baseball, one game over 70, most games 40 and raining. It's almost June and it's 50 today. The coldest spring in 100 years why not report that factoid.

    22. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      Jonathan – "Scientists have nothing to gain"? What planet do you live on.

      I guess you just forgot about the millions and millions of our tax dollars these

      "scientists" receive from the government. No, they have nothing to gain but

      their very existece.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.