“What we are seeing in global warming is the evaporation of our Great Lakes.” That was Illinois Senator Dick Durbin in 2013 when Lake Michigan was at a record low. You can find plenty of claims to the same effect from the time. Nobel Prize winner Al Gore chimed in around then, too, saying climate change was driving Great Lakes levels down by causing evaporation.

But that was then and this is now.

What’s causing today’s record high levels? Climate change, naturally.

So now, citing “catastrophic lakefront erosion” from high water, Chicago just declared a climate emergency. It’s radical, and is reproduced in full below.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Durbin want the federal government to help Chicago pay for damage to its shoreline. Lightfoot’s accompanying statement is reproduced below. You’ll be relieved to see that she’s putting “equity” at the center.

Given that Lightfoot hasn’t exactly been friendly to President Trump, you might be concerned about what reception her request for federal help will get. Per the Chicago Tribune, Lightfoot acknowledged “some concern, of course,” that President Donald Trump won’t see the urgency in sending help to Chicago — a city he has treated as a public antagonist for years — to combat climate change, an issue he hasn’t deemed a high priority.

Why, yes, I’d have some concern, too, of course. She called Trump’s visit to Chicago “insulting, ignorant buffoonery.” Not that he’s vindictive or anything.

And since sustainability is emphasized in Lightfoot’s statement, I’d also have some concern about sustainability of claims about the causes of Great Lakes water fluctuations. I confess to being old enough to remember exceptionally high lake levels in the late 1970s when global cooling was blamed. Going back much further, levels were way up where today’s Ridge Road is in the northern suburbs, which created the ridge (but, no, I’m not that old).

Lake Michigan water levels have bounced up and down drastically since at least 1920, and probably throughout history. The chart below is from a Wisconsin environmental and climate group called Southeastern Wisconsin Coastal Resilience.

Source: https://sewicoastalresilience.org/lake-michigan-august-water-levels/

Mark Glennon

This article was updated to add the chart above and the climate resolution below.

The climate emergency resolution:


WHEREAS, in April 2016 world leaders recognized the urgent need to combat climate change by signing the Paris Agreement, agreeing to keep global wamiing, “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C”; and

WHEREAS, the death and destruction already wrought by current average global warming of 1 °C demonstrate that thc Earth is already too hot for safety and justice, as attested by increased and intensifying wildfires;floods,rising seas, diseases, droughts, and extreme weather; and

WHEREAS, according to the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty, 1.5°C of global waming could expose 500 million people to water poverty, 36 million people to food insecurity because of lower crop yields, and 4.5 billion people to heat waves; and

WHEREAS, in October 2018, the United Nations released a special report which projected that limiting warming to even the dangerous 1.5°C target this century will require an unprecedented transformation of every sector of the global economy by 2030: and

WHEREAS, the United States of America has disproportionately contributed to the climate and ecological emergencies and thus bears an extraordinary responsibility to rapidly solve these crises; and

WHEREAS, climate change will continue to make basic human necessities such as food, housing, health care, transportation and energy more expensive and difficult to obtain; and

WHEREAS, in July 2019, members of Congress introduced a concurrent Congressional resolution to declare a national climate emergency in the United States, calling for a “national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization of the resources and labor of the United States at a massive scale to halt, reverse, mitigate, and prepare for the consequences of the climate emergency and to restore the climate for future generations”; and

WHEREAS, restoring a safe and stable climate requires a Climate Mobilization, an emergency mobilization on a scale not seen since World War 11 in order to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors ofthe economy; to rapidly and safely drawdown and remove all the excess carbon from the atmosphere at emergency speed and until safe, pre-industrial climate conditions are restored; and to implement measures to protect all people and species from the consequences of abrupt climate breakdown; and

WHEREAS, such necessary measures to restore a safe climate include:

a)  A rapid, just, managed divestment and phase-out of fossil fuels; and

b)  Ending greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible to establish a zero-emissions economy; and

c)  A widespread effort to safely drawdown excess carbon from the atmosphere; and

d)  A full transition to a regenerative agriculture system; and

c) An end to the Sixth Mass Extinction through widespread conservation and restoration of ecosystems; and

WHEREAS, justice requires that frontline and marginalized communities, which have historically borne the brunt of the extractive fossil-fuel economy, participate actively in the planning and implementation of this mobilization effort and that they benefit first from the transition to a climate-safe economy; and

WHEREAS, the massive scope and scale of action necessary to stabilize the climate and biosphere will require unprecedented levels of public awareness, engagement, and deliberation to develop and implement effective, just, and equitable policies to address the climate emergency; and

WHEREAS, to slay within 1.5 degrees Celsius, niajor cities throughout the world will need to significantly reduce their per capita emissions by 2030, and as a global city, Chicago is obligated to lead by example; and

WHEREAS, lhe 2008 Chicago Climate Action Plan slates that. “Without rapid local and global action, impacts on Chicago’s climate could be adverse,” and thai “[l]he benefits of early action will improve quality of life and preserve Chicago for future generations”; and

WHEREAS, in 2017, the City ofChicago organized global leaders to sign onto the Chicago Climate Charter, with more than 50 cities worldwide, pledging to reduce carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement and committed to reaching 100% renewable energy for all electricity used in municipal buildings by 2025; and

WHEREAS, the City of Chicago continues to endure myriad effects of climate change, including bul not limited to catastrophic lakefront erosion, citywide fiooding.and severe unseasonal weather; and

WHEREAS, in 2019. members of City Council have called for the re-establishmenl ofthe Department of Environment to oversee the implemeniation of climatc-relalcd policies and programs: and

WHEREAS, our communities can display their resilience by creating and executing emergency planning that is tailored to address direcily the irue scope of the challenges we face; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED, the City of Chicago hereby declares a state of climate emergency that threatens thc health and well-being of Chicago, its inhabitants, and its environment; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, City Council will work with the Mayor’s office and city departments to develop a budget that promotes urgent climate action; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City of Chicago calls on the State of lllinois, the United States Congress, the President of the United States, and all govemments and people worldwide to declare a climate emergency, initiate a Climate Mobilization to reverse global warming and the ecological crisis, and provide maximum protection for all people and species of the world; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, in furtherance of this resolution, the City Clerk shall submit a certified copy of this resolution to elected officials at the federal, state and county levels and request that all relevant support and assistance in effectuating this resolution be provided.

Mayor Lightfoot’s statement:

“Mayor Lightfoot is committed to a proactive environmental agenda that puts equity at its center and prepares Chicago to protect all of its communities, especially those most vulnerable, from pollution and other threats to our shared environment. In order to meet an ambitious climate agenda, the administration is currently in the process of hiring a Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) who will ensure a dedicated focus on current climate and environmental issues from the Mayor’s Office. The CSO will work alongside the Committee on Environmental Protection and Energy as well as community stakeholders to develop forward-looking policy solutions that focus on equity and which will focus on protecting the environmental health all of our communities for the future.”

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Blards Mercado
11 months ago

Well, at least this time it’s not the Ruskies fault … or is it? American Democrates can be so ticklishly funny.

Blards Mercado
11 months ago
Reply to  Blards Mercado

Oh, oh, don’t forget the Chinese!

Mike Mike
11 months ago

Here’s one vote to elevate the Lake Michigan Water Level chart to the home page.

The Chicago City Council has not declared a City of Chicago government debt emergency resolution?

Certainly that’s man made.

11 months ago

NO author listed?

Rand Beardsley
11 months ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

Great piece Mark!

11 months ago

Nice work.

Joe cooper
11 months ago

By the time they decide what to do about it, get the money. The lake will be at its low point again.
I ask this question again. Why is climate change always bad? I have never read a positive story about climate change. Must be at least one. Warm winter decreases fuel consumption or something.

11 months ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

Every time I hear “I believe in science” from a lefty, I’m reminded of W’s “you’re either with us or against us” speech. A shame irony is so often completely lost on the left.

11 months ago

Let’s be clear, Lightfoot wants to use everybody else’s money to fix her Democrat pals lakefront properties that donate to her and the Democrat party. This is the corrupt Chicago way! And you just watch, she will fix all those heavy handed Democrat donors lakefront properties in a jiffy! Those millionaire/billionaire Democrats are going to be laughing their @sses off at how stupid and gullible everyone is for buying into that BS!

11 months ago

it’s a fine line between farce and tragedy

11 months ago

Where’s the science whore boy Al Gore these days? Hibernating?

Governor of Alderaan
11 months ago
Reply to  Donovan

He’s busy counting his billions of dollars

11 months ago

Open the locks,,,but then they’d worry about the asian carp

11 months ago
Reply to  NB-Chicago

Political sharks are more dangerous.

Hank Scorpio
11 months ago

Somebody should inform these folks that Lake Michigan is almost 600 feet above sea level… My issue with the whole movement is you have too many people screaming because they were told to scream. They do not understand a thing about energy or physics. They just give in to their fears and scream “Somebody do something!”. Maybe all the hype is real and we are in for some bad times. But humans will figure out how to adapt. These idiots don’t even want nuclear — they think solar panels and wind turbines grow naturally in the wild, let alone meet… Read more »

Illinois Entrepreneur
11 months ago

The problem with “climate change” theory is that you can’t test the hypothesis. Even lay people with a few years of science schooling under their belt understand that all of science is based on the ability to experiment; test your hypothesis. When it snows a lot, it’s climate change. When it doesn’t snow at all, it’s also climate change. When the lake levels are high, climate change. Low, climate change. Heat waves – climate change. Cold polar vortexes? You guessed it — climate change. When every outcome is a result of “climate change” I get a bit suspicious that perhaps… Read more »

11 months ago

Computer models! That’s how they ‘test’ their hypothesis! They use these magick, black box computer models with accuracy to a tenth (.1) of a degree, extrapolated as far as hundreds of year in the future! Science is amazing, I trust science, I believe all science.

joe blow
11 months ago
Reply to  debtsor

they don’t even use all variables in their flawed models, complete nonsense… they can barely predict the weather a week from now with the most powerful supercomputers yet they can tell us what temperatures are going to be hundreds of years in the future without even factoring in all solar properties… ok

11 months ago
Reply to  joe blow

“yet they can tell us what temperatures are going to be hundreds of years in the future”

and they can ‘predict’ it so accurately too, to a tenth of a degree!!

11 months ago

So much is subjectively touted by those that have no objective scientific training.

11 months ago
Reply to  Riverbender

Hence why they’ve been sabotaging education for as long as they have. If there’s one thing a progressive loves, it’s a low information voter.

David C. Seidman
11 months ago

That (Mayor Lightfoot’s statement) is the most meaningless collection of “good words” I’ve seen in quite a while. The “imperative” of hiring a “CSO”, who, with a city council committee, will be working night and day to implement the Mayor’s agenda is the biggest three-dollar bill we seen in ages.

joe blow
11 months ago

the climate change indoctrination and alarmism going on these days is absolutely freaking insane, and I pray for our future as it looks bleak with these people straight up wanting to screw up their quality of lives for literally no reason at all other than erratic, cyclical weather, which has always existed for millenia

11 months ago

I saw an article the other day that she’s going to Springfield to meet with the Republican members of IL’s legislature to pitch her case for money, as she struck out with Madigan last year (as we learned too because of the personal vendetta Madigan has against her because, years back, she was a lawyer in court for a client fighting Madigan’s corrupt ComEd. Hopefully these two groups can work out a smooth secession of Chicago from the rest of Illinois. Or just remain a part of Illinois officially for federal purposes, but becomes wholly autonomous, with it’s own Secretary… Read more »

Platinum Goose
11 months ago

Hey Lori, ask Amazon how criticizing Orange Man worked out for them.

11 months ago

There’s ignorance on both sides but cherry picking “facts” by either side, “while Rome burns”, is incredibly annoying. I think we all know we are not doing enough to help our environment, for many reasons, but the arguments from Mayor Lori et al and comments below are tiresome and offer no solutions.

11 months ago

What Durbin meant to say was there is an evaporation and decline of mental clarity in politicians. If not addressed immediately that will cause tax’s to rise substantially.

11 months ago

Sounds like she wants the country to pay for the crumbling lakefront and beaches. Is Wisconsin or Indiana asking or is it just the all important city of Chicago asking ? Good luck Lori. Your words and actions have consequences.

11 months ago
Reply to  Bob

Especially since the federal government is about to lower the boom on sanctuary cities.

11 months ago

When the sun comes up it’s global warming and when it goes down its global cooling.

Wise Willy
11 months ago
Reply to  bross

When the sun is half way thru it’s arc it’s climate change