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Chicago Prepares for a Warmer Future Due To Climate Change

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Meagre Results for Lost Souls

Baton Rouge? Yikes. I’ve been to Baton Rouge, and that was pretty steamy. But what is Baton Rouge going to be like?

Regardless, this Chicago initiative is pretty smart. Are other cities this far along? I assume any government run by Republicans will have their head in the sand, pretending that the earth’s climate isn’t changing, despite evidence.

The Windy City is preparing for a heat wave — a permanent one.  City planners in Chicago have been told that as temperatures rise, some plants native to the region will die out.  Climate scientists have told city planners that based on current trends, Chicago will feel more like Baton Rouge than a Northern metropolis before the end of this century.

So, Chicago is getting ready for a wetter, steamier future. Public alleyways are being repaved with materials that are permeable to water. The white oak, the state tree of Illinois, has been banned from city planting lists, and swamp oaks and sweet gum trees from the South have been given new priority. Thermal radar is being used to map the city’s hottest spots, which are then targets for pavement removal and the addition of vegetation to roofs. And air-conditioners are being considered for all 750 public schools, which until now have been heated but rarely cooled.

(click here to continue reading With Eye on Climate Change, Chicago Prepares for a Warmer Future – NYTimes.com.)

Drive Towards the Sun

and one more snippet, but you should read the whole, interesting article (free using this link).

As the region warms, Chicago is expecting more frequent and extreme storms. In the last three years, the city has had two intense storms classified as 100-year events.

So the work planned for a six-point intersection on the South Side with flooding and other issues is a prototype. The sidewalk in front of the high school on Cermak Road has been widened to include planting areas that are lower than the street surface. This not only encourages more pedestrian traffic, but also provides shade and landscaping. These will be filled with drought-resistant plants like butterfly weed and spartina grasses that sponge up excess water and help filter pollutants like de-icing salts. In some places, unabsorbed water will seep into storage tanks beneath the streets so it can be used later for watering plants or in new decorative fountains in front of the high school.

The bike lanes and parking spaces being added along the street are covered with permeable pavers, a weave of pavement that allows 80 percent of rainwater to filter through it to the ground below. Already 150 alleyways have been remade in this way.

The light-reflecting pavement is Chicago’s own mix and includes recycled tires. Rubbery additives help the asphalt expand in heat without buckling and to contract without cracking.

385 parts per million - Polapan Blue

And I know this would have been a drop in a bucket, considering, but still, would have been nice if it would have happened for reasons other than climate change:

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.

Written by Seth Anderson

May 23rd, 2011 at 8:41 am

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