Sustainability & Climate Protection in St. Louis

By Catherine L. Werner,
Sustainability Director,
City of St. Louis

To many, summer in St. Louis means Cardinals games and Ted Drewes trips. St. Louis summers can also mean high heat, severe thunderstorms, drought, poor air quality, and even flood conditions.

What do these things have to do with Climate Change? Quite a bit, actually. Experts suggest that there are substantial connections between the environmental conditions we experience in our daily lives and global climate issues that often seem remote or separate from St. Louis. In fact, there are local health impacts, economic implications and social consequences of climate change. Debating whether Climate Change is caused by people is not important to me. What is important, though, is taking action to address Climate Change. That’s why the City of St. Louis launched a Climate Protection Initiative in conjunction with the City of St. Louis Sustainability Plan.

Over the years, the City has gathered detailed information (such as through several Greenhouse Gas Inventories and Building Energy Use Benchmarking Data), set Climate Protection Targets, and developed a Climate Action & Adaptation Plan that outlines recommendations for mitigating the effects of Climate Change in ways that protect both human health and the environment.

The City also conducted a Climate Vulnerability Assessment to better understand these projected climate hazards and their impact on the citizens of St. Louis:

  • Extreme Heat
  • Extreme Cold
  • Tornadoes & Extreme Winds
  • Drought
  • Flooding & Rainstorms

There are many ways to lessen the impact and reduce the chance of future climate-related challenges. The City has been leading by example by making its buildings more energy efficient and transitioning to cleaner vehicles. The City has earned recognition for its efforts, and achieved compliance with the rigorous Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy.

As part of its terrific 2019-2020 American Cities Climate Challenge award from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the City is able to dedicate resources to efforts that should result in enhanced building performance in the private sector, greater use of renewable energy throughout the community, and new ways to support the use of Electric Vehicles.

There are ways that people in the community can help, too. The St. Louis Climate Handprint was developed as a tool to identify the “Good-Better-Best” climate actions that individuals can take to make a difference. There are 28 recommendations for Taking Climate Action at Home, and there are 25 recommendations for Taking Climate Action at Work. The St. Louis Climate Handprint describes why each of the climate actions is important, and provides links to more information. Although the Climate Handprint is specifically aligned with the City’s Climate Action & Adaptation Plan, the recommendations are appropriate for the entire St. Louis Region. Thank you for taking positive steps to help address Climate Change!

More information about the City’s Climate Protection Initiative, including the St. Louis Climate Handprint tool, can be found on the City’s Sustainability website: www.stlouis-mo.gov/sustainability. And, for those interested in learning more about solar energy, join us at the STL Solar Expo & Symposium on Saturday, August 3rd at CORTEX.