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Peoria Global Warming Town Hall Meeting

September 9, 2008

For Immediate Release: August 20, 2008

Peoria Global Warming Town Hall Meeting Re-Scheduled for Sept. 9;

Fourth Forum in Statewide Series Builds on Momentum of Decatur , Alton and Belleville

Chicago, Ill. – A town hall meeting on global warming sponsored by the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) and Environment Illinois originally scheduled to take place Aug. 28 in Peoria has been moved to Tuesday, Sept. 9, because of a conflict with the Democratic National Convention.

The public forum, which is co-hosted by the Forest Park Nature Center , Heart of Illinois (HOI) Sierra Club, and the Central Illinois Global Warming Solutions Group, will run from 7:30-9 p.m. at the Forest Park Nature Center , 5809 Forest Park Dr. , Peoria Heights. Admission is free and open to the public.

Aur J. Beck, an alternative energy and global warming expert who runs Advanced Energy Solutions in Carbondale , headlines the town hall meeting. He is a founder and board member of the Illinois Renewable Energy Association and the Southern Illinois Center for a Sustainable Future and a speaker trained by The Climate Project, the nonprofit, nonpartisan project founded by former Vice President Al Gore.

Local speakers include John Mullen of the Forest Park Nature Center , Bob Jorgenson, chair of the HOI Sierra Club, and Kiersten Sheets, a member of the Central Illinois Global Warming Solutions Group. The meeting will also include a short talk by local astronomer and global warming authority Sheldon Schafer, the vice president of education and planetarium director at Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences.

“Sun spots and natural astronomical cycles have contributed to climate change historically, and may have some very small effect today, but all the evidence indicates that human activity plays a vastly greater role in what we’re seeing” said Schafer. “The majority of scientists agree on this point, but this message sometimes gets drowned out by the objections of a few skeptics.”

The participation of so many local groups in the Peoria public forum on global warming underscores the fact that area residents recognize the reality of climate change and the need for everyone to help find a solution, according to IEC Executive Director Jonathan Goldman.

“It’s great to see so many people interested and involved in this issue in Peoria . It gives me hope that we will be able to muster the political will in this state to pass legislation that will curb Illinois ’ contribution to global warming,” he said.

IEC will discuss legislative options such as the Global Warming Response Act (SB2220/HB5254) and Illinois Clean Cars Act (HB 3424/SB 2238), which were introduced in Springfield last spring. Environment Illinois will explore energy efficiency as a solution.

The generation of electricity continues to be the greatest contributor to global warming, with the amount of this pollution produced by electricity up 80% in Illinois since 1990, according to Brian Granahan, staff attorney for Environment Illinois.

“Energy efficiency is the cleanest and most cost-effective means for addressing growing energy demand and its environmental impact,” said Granahan. “Demand for energy in Illinois has risen approximately 2% per year since 1990. Swift action is imperative, and increased energy efficiency is the solution we can get online and operating most quickly.”

A recent report by Architecture 2030, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group based in Santa Fe , found that increasing building efficiency in order to gain one quad of energy — roughly 1% of our nation’s total consumption — would cost $42.1 billion. At the same time, the report indicated that achieving this increase through new coal plants would cost three times as much ($122 billion) and at least five times ($222 billion) as much through new nuclear plants.

The Peoria public forum on global warming is part of a statewide series sponsored by IEC that kicked off in Decatur June 24 and came to Alton Aug. 12. The events attracted more than 140 interested citizens as well as local legislators and significant media coverage.

The next stop in the global warming series is Belleville on Aug. 27, followed by the Peoria forum Sept. 9, two events that are co-sponsored by Environment Illinois as a part of its own summer town hall series on energy efficiency that began in Bloomington July 29. The final event in IEC’s series is in Carbondale Sept. 16, when it participates in “The Cascading Effects of Global Warming—What Can I Do NOW?”

The Carbondale event takes place at Southern Illinois University is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Jackson County; Shawnee Group Sierra Club; United Nations Association-USA of Southern Illinois; SIU Student Environmental Center, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, OxFam International and the League of Women Voters-U.S.

For more information about IEC’s global warming series, call 217-544-5954 or visit www.ilenviro.org. For more information about Environment Illinois’ series, call 312-291-0696 or visit www.environmentillinois.org.

For More Information Contact:

Gail Philbin, 773-276-5944, 616-558-6490 (c)

Jonathan Goldman, 312-388-7358 (c)

Brian Granahan, 312-291-0696 x 305

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