Illinois’s climate is changing. Most of the state has warmed by about one degree (F) in the last century. Floods are becoming more frequent, and ice cover on the Great Lakes is forming later or melting sooner.
While precipitation has increased by an average of 4% nationwide between 1901 and 2015, Illinois has seen as much as a 10% rise in precipitation in this period. Most of this moisture is experienced as increased rainfall in the winter and spring, bringing hazards such as rising water levels of lakes, severe weather and tornadoes and exacerbating ecological issues like algae blooms and invasive species migration. These challenges expose the weaknesses in ageing infrastructure and hold severe consequences for the agricultural sector, where waterlogging is expected to cause a 10-30% decline in corn and soy yields.
The midwest’s economic powerhouse, Illinois is the fifth-most energy consuming state in the country, with 31% of its end-use consumption coming from the industrial sector, but is also a major electricity generator with the largest number of nuclear power plants in the nation. A key hub for crude oil and natural gas moving throughout the United States. Illinois also has substantial coal reserves and some crude oil resources as well. A leading producer of both ethanol and biodiesel, Illinois’ primary renewable resource is biofuels. The state is the third-largest ethanol producer, after Iowa and Nebraska, and has the third-largest ethanol production capacity and the fourth-largest biodiesel production capacity in the nation.
CREDIT: The New York Times