I begin here: What local communities do about carbon emissions and climate change matters.
The City of St. Louis is taking a common-sense, local approach to reducing carbon emissions and promoting a vibrant, attractive, prosperous, and healthy community. As part of my Sustainability Action Agenda, we are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions citywide by 25 percent by 2020. Nearly 80 percent of the City's greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings. Our "Set the PACE" program is a leading strategy to reduce these emissions by providing financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Of course, we share the climate. So, we hope to work with other communities to do what is within an entire state's reach. The carbon pollution standards proposed by President Obama present an opportunity: a statewide conversation about those standards could begin with a commission.
Statewide commissions come in all shapes and sizes, and have varying records of accomplishment. But consider a task force made up of municipal and county leaders, along with representatives of the academic, faith, philanthropic, non-profit and business communities - including power utilities. Charge them with collecting and packaging the best thinking and most successful practices for advancing statewide policy on what ordinary people and local level officials can do about climate change and carbon reductions.
Missouri would have much to gain through a statewide discussion of financial incentives for achieving emissions reductions through energy efficiency. The same is true of strategies for reducing emissions from vehicles, such as alternative modes of transportation and the use of cleaner fuels and technologies.
There is also much we can learn from one another about the nexus between energy and water use and how to improve local capacity for dealing with extreme heat events, flash flooding, and severe storms.
The City of St. Louis would welcome a chance to participate in such a statewide process. We would have much to offer - and to learn.