Sustainability and Climate Plans

Desired Trend


Current Trend

Baseline (2010): 3.4%
Current (2023): 4.5%

Theme Prepared


Percent of local governments that have a sustainability plan, climate action plan, or GHG inventory

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. Across the United States, extreme cold events have decreased, extreme heat events have increased, and other events, including heavy precipitation, drought, flooding, wildfires, and hurricanes, have become more frequent and/or severe. A conservative estimate is that extreme events cost the United States an average of $150 billion a year.2

Since its peak in 2007, U.S. emissions have decreased, demonstrating the positive effects of sustainability efforts. The most notable change has been the switch from coal to natural gas and renewable technologies for electricity generation.3 Yet, more action is needed to lessen the risks of climate change and create sustainable communities. 

Local communities are uniquely situated to cultivate sustainable communities and address climate change due to their ability to engage the local community and pass policies that guide, incentivize, and penalize individual and organization/business behavior. The Environmental Sustainability Roadmap provides local governments with resources to navigate obstacles and guide action toward more healthy and sustainable communities. The report outlines a five step process of sustainability.

This OneSTL performance measure identifies communities that have taken some of these steps. Specifically, assessing the situation, which is measured by the number of communities that have completed a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory. An inventory can help communities prioritize where actions can have the most impact as well as provide a benchmark for measuring success. Also tracked in this metric are which communities have passed climate action or sustainability plans. Having long-term goals and an implementation strategy are key to achieving success. The other steps of involving the community and implementing the plan are essential as well, but more challenging to measure on a region wide basis.

Visit the OneSTL toolkit for more on developing a climate action planand a GHG inventory.

How are we Doing?

The percent of local governments (cities and counties) in the St. Louis region that have taken steps to addressing climate change by undertaking a GHG inventory or generating a climate action or sustainability plan increased from 3.4 percent in 2010 to 4.5 percent in 2023. The first local government to take action was the city of Creve Coeur, which inventoried GHGs in 2005. The number of local governments increased to 12 in 2014. Since that time, more local governments have taken steps but the efforts by some have become outdated. For the purpose of this metric, plans are considered active for 10 years. In 2023, the number of local governments that have taken steps is at nine.

Since 2005, a total of 16 local governments have taken steps, which is 8 percent of the 200 municipalities and counties in the region. The city of St. Louis is the only entity that has completed a GHG inventory, Climate Action Plan, and Sustainability Plan. 

Most of the GHG inventories and plans can be accessed here. These plans can be used as models for other local governments who want to incorporate sustainability into their planning. 

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.


1 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Climate Change: Basic Information, 19 January 2017; accessed on 2 February 2020 at

2National Climate Assessment 2023, available at

3National Climate Assessment 2023, available at

Data Sources

East-West Gateway Council of Governments