Addressing Climate Change

Desired Trend

Up

Current Trend

Up
Baseline (2010): 8.8%
Current (2019): 14.4%

Theme Prepared

Definition

Percent of local governments that have taken action to address climate change

Why is it Important?

The average global temperature increased by 1.5°F over the last 100 years.1 Temperatures are expected to continue increasing due to the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, causing substantial negative impacts to the environment and society. Local communities are uniquely situated to address climate change due to their ability to innovate and create incentives and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Some of the things communities can do include: develop Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventories that calculate total emissions for the area, which helps identify target areas for emission reductions; develop a climate action plan, which focuses on strategies for reducing GHGs as well as adaptation strategies that will help the community become more resilient to the impacts of climate change; join organizations that support and encourage local efforts to address climate change, such as Sierra Club’s Clean Energy program; and mayors of municipalities can sign on to the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement (MCPA), showing their commitment to reduce local GHG emissions. This indicator measures the percent of local governments that have taken any of the aforementioned actions to address climate change.

How are we Doing?

The percent of local governments (cities and counties) in the St. Louis region that have taken action to address climate change increased from 8.8 percent in 2010 to 14.4 percent in 2019. A total of 29 local governments in the region have taken action to address climate change. This an increase from 2010 when 18 local government had taken action. Most of the 29 governments are designated as Cool Cities, many have signed the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, and 12 have shown support for the 100% Clean Energy program. About a third have completed greenhouse gas inventories, and a handful have developed climate action plans.

The Paris Climate Agreement was adopted by the United Nations in December of 2015, and since then 197 countries have signed the agreement. The Paris Climate Agreement “reaffirms the goal of limiting global temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius” (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).2 Within the United States, a number of mayors have also stated their support for the Paris Climate Agreement. In June of 2017, 385 mayors across the United States signed a statement committing to uphold the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. Included among those stating their commitment were mayors Lyda Krewson of the city of St. Louis, Len Pagano of St. Peters, Barry Greenberg of Maplewood, and Shelley Welsch of University City. 

Geographic Level

St. Louis eight-county bi-state region, including Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles, and St. Louis counties and the city of St. Louis in Missouri and Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair counties in Illinois. View map.

Notes

1U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Climate Change: Basic Information, 19 January 2017; accessed on 2 February 2020 at http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/basics/

2United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Summary of the Paris Agreement. Accessed on February 5, 2018 at http://bigpicture.unfccc.int/404.html#content-the-paris-agreemen  

Data Sources

Sierra Club, US Conference of Mayors, Resilient Communities for America, and East-West Gateway Council of Governments