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Illinois now ranks 17th in solar energy production, up from placing 33rd three years ago.

As the state moves up in producing greener energy, the US continues its efforts in convincing other big countries to curb greenhouse emissions. In South Korea, this weekend, US Climate Envoy John Kerry met with world leaders as the country prepares to host a virtual climate summit beginning on Earth Day, April 22.

“We hope to raise ambition among all nations over the course of these next months,” he said.

The Biden administration, reversing course on US policy over the last four years on climate, is pushing toward green energy production and jobs on an accelerated timeline. 

“This is not based on politics,” Biden said. “This is not about ideology. This is not great power competition. This is about science and what the science is telling us we are doing to our planet.”

Locally, companies, like Headline Solar, have seen rapid increase in customers installing solar panels.  

By 2050, Illinois would use only renewable energy under bill

“The trend is going toward renewable energy and that’s really the only way to save the planet,” said Kevin Gillespie, of Headline Solar.

While critics say it does little to reduce pollution in the end, advocates say it’s better over the long term for the environment and the budget, as government rebates help offset costs. 

“By and large the motivation is savings, financial savings,” Gillespie added.

He says solar and wind farms, some of which are in Illinois, are increasing in size and production of energy, as fossil fuel plants are taken offline. Some liken the change to the early 20th century, as the rise of the model t, meant an end to blacksmithing. The White House virtual summit, which will be streamed online, will call on major countries to curb greenhouse emissions.  

“Here are a lot of industrialized countries that are contributing to this challenge. 20 nations, all of whom are invited to President Biden’s summit, are responsible for about 81% of all the emissions. So to solve this problem, those 20 countries have to lead the way.”