Our newest report “Harnessing Nature” explains that as the effects of climate change continue to become more pronounced, areas of the U.S. will continue to see increases in temperature. An example of this is the Chicago region –fresh off its warmest winter in the past 54 years– where the U.S. Global Change Research Program has already recorded a 1.5 degrees F rise in temperatures over the region. Over the next 100 years it is projected that temperatures will increase by 4 to 10 degrees F, leaving Illinois with a climate more like that of Louisiana and Texas.
A simple and extremely effective tool in combating these warmer temperatures is shade. Temperatures in the vicinity of trees and other vegetation can be 4 to 9 degrees F lower than areas that are barren. Not only can shade be an effective way of keeping your house cooler but having more trees planted around your community can have numerous benefits like helping to combat flash flooding, providing habitats for a variety of animals as well as absorbing carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas pollutant.