At the April 13, 2010, City Council meeting, City staff presented an update on the Evanston Climate Action Plan (ECAP). The ECAP was developed through a unique City-citizen partnership, with participation from over 300 community members.
Unanimously accepted by City Council in November 2008, the ECAP offers over 200 strategies for meeting the City’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, a 7 percent reduction of 1990 levels by 2012. Currently almost half of the strategies outlined in the ECAP are being considered or implemented.
 While the development of the ECAP itself was a major accomplishment – Evanston and Chicago are the only communities in Illinois to formally develop a plan after signing the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement – the City has made considerable progress in the past two years to address climate change at the local level. Since 2007, the City has secured over $1.2 million in direct federal, state and private funding for sustainability-related initiatives, including a residential weatherization program for income-qualified households, municipal facility and street lighting upgrades, the City’s first solar photovoltaic installation and the conversion of its residential recycling containers from 14 gallon to 65- and 95-gallon capacity. All of these initiatives help keep Evanston dollars in the community while reducing community-wide energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
 Meeting the City’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target will be no easy feat, and few communities have met the challenge to date. Additionally, the initial target set by the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement will be modified, resulting in a much greater reduction target. If Evanston is serious about adhering to its commitment to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions, current efforts not only need to continue, but they need to be substantially expanded, and options such as large – scale renewable energy generation need to be considered.      
The City has a key role to play as a strategic partner, catalyst and advocate for the implementation of the ECAP. However, the success of Evanston’s efforts to take action on climate change depend largely on the involvement and support of Evanston institutions, businesses and residents.