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Is St. Louis Sticking to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement?

December 6, 2006 Environment, Politics/Policy 15 Comments

Seven mayors in the St. Louis Region have all signed on to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. The mayors, all from Missouri municipalities, are as follows:

From an Oct 18, 2005 press release from the Ozark Chapter of the Sierra Club we know St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay signed the agreement in October 2005:

A coalition of conservation-minded groups applauded Mayors Mark Langston of Maplewood, Joseph Adams of University City, and Francis Slay of St. Louis for making commitments to reduce global warming pollution in their cities. The event was the result of a grassroots campaign and part of the Sierra Club’s national “Cool Cities” tour. The event featured a fuel-sipping hybrid Mercury Mariner that is made in Missouri.

At the news conference in front of Maplewood City Hall, the mayors were presented with certificates of thanks for signing onto the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement, an effort initiated by the mayor of Seattle earlier this year and now supported by 185 mayors nationwide. Mayor Slay, who signed the agreement last week, did not attend, but his office provided a written statement:

“`I am particularly interested in considering environmental policies that will create jobs for the residents of our City,’” said Slay in the statement. “`As we assess implementation of new policies, their potential to create new jobs will be the priority consideration.’”

The list of mayors is now over 300 strong. Here is the agreement to which they’ve signed on:


WHEREAS, the U.S. Conference of Mayors has previously adopted strong policy resolutions calling for cities, communities and the federal government to take actions to reduce global warming pollution; and

WHEREAS, the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the international community’s most respected assemblage of scientists, has found that climate disruption is a reality and that human activities are largely responsible for increasing concentrations of global warming pollution; and

WHEREAS, recent, well-documented impacts of climate disruption include average global sea level increases of four to eight inches during the 20th century; a 40 percent decline in Arctic sea-ice thickness; and nine of the ten hottest years on record occurring in the past decade; and

WHEREAS, climate disruption of the magnitude now predicted by the scientific community will cause extremely costly disruption of human and natural systems throughout the world including: increased risk of floods or droughts; sea-level rises that interact with coastal storms to erode beaches, inundate land, and damage structures; more frequent and extreme heat waves; more frequent and greater concentrations of smog; and

WHEREAS, on February 16, 2005, the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to address climate disruption, went into effect in the 141 countries that have ratified it to date; 38 of those countries are now legally required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on average 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2012; and

WHEREAS, the United States of America, with less than five percent of the world’s population, is responsible for producing approximately 25 percent of the world’s global warming pollutants; and

WHEREAS, the Kyoto Protocol emissions reduction target for the U.S. would have been 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012; and

WHEREAS, many leading US companies that have adopted greenhouse gas reduction programs to demonstrate corporate social responsibility have also publicly expressed preference for the US to adopt precise and mandatory emissions targets and timetables as a means by which to remain competitive in the international marketplace, to mitigate financial risk and to promote sound investment decisions; and

WHEREAS, state and local governments throughout the United States are adopting emission reduction targets and programs and that this leadership is bipartisan, coming from Republican and Democratic governors and mayors alike; and

WHEREAS, many cities throughout the nation, both large and small, are reducing global warming pollutants through programs that provide economic and quality of life benefits such as reduced energy bills, green space preservation, air quality improvements, reduced traffic congestion, improved transportation choices, and economic development and job creation through energy conservation and new energy technologies; and

WHEREAS, mayors from around the nation have signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement which, as amended at the 73rd Annual U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting, reads: The U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement

A. We urge the federal government and state governments to enact policies and programs to meet or beat the target of reducing global warming pollution levels to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012, including efforts to: reduce the United States’ dependence on fossil fuels and accelerate the development of clean, economical energy resources and fuel-efficient technologies such as conservation, methane recovery for energy generation, waste to energy, wind and solar energy, fuel cells, efficient motor vehicles, and biofuels;

B. We urge the U.S. Congress to pass bipartisan greenhouse gas reduction legislation that includes

1) clear timetables and emissions limits and

2) a flexible, market-based system of tradable allowances among emitting industries; and

C. We will strive to meet or exceed Kyoto Protocol targets for reducing global warming pollution by taking actions in our own operations and communities such as:

1. Inventory global warming emissions in City operations and in the community, set reduction targets and create an action plan.

2. Adopt and enforce land-use policies that reduce sprawl, preserve open space, and create compact, walkable urban communities;

3. Promote transportation options such as bicycle trails, commute trip reduction programs, incentives for car pooling and public transit;

4. Increase the use of clean, alternative energy by, for example, investing in “green tags”, advocating for the development of renewable energy resources, recovering landfill methane for energy production, and supporting the use of waste to energy technology;

5. Make energy efficiency a priority through building code improvements, retrofitting city facilities with energy efficient lighting and urging employees to conserve energy and save money;

6. Purchase only Energy Star equipment and appliances for City use;

7. Practice and promote sustainable building practices using the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program or a similar system;

8. Increase the average fuel efficiency of municipal fleet vehicles; reduce the number of vehicles; launch an employee education program including anti-idling messages; convert diesel vehicles to bio-diesel;

9. Evaluate opportunities to increase pump efficiency in water and wastewater systems; recover wastewater treatment methane for energy production;

10. Increase recycling rates in City operations and in the community;

11. Maintain healthy urban forests; promote tree planting to increase shading and to absorb CO2; and

12. Help educate the public, schools, other jurisdictions, professional associations, business and industry about reducing global warming pollution.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors endorses the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement as amended by the 73rd annual U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting and urges mayors from around the nation to join this effort. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The U.S. Conference of Mayors will work in conjunction with ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability and other appropriate organizations to track progress and implementation of the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement as amended b73rd annual U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting.

I’ve searched through St. Louis’ website looking for any evidence of action on the part of the Slay administration with respect to this agreement but I’ve come up empty handed. In fact, in searching the city’s press release system for the dates in which the agreement would have been signed I could not find a single mention of even having agreed to the concept. Who is working on this initiative? In particular I like #2 above:

Adopt and enforce land-use policies that reduce sprawl, preserve open space, and create compact, walkable urban communities

Well, in St. Louis we are sticking with our 1947 pro-sprawl zoning which supersedes our new strategic land use plan so we are not doing so well on the reduction of sprawl. If fact, the mayor seemed supportive of Ald. Florida’s McDonald’s drive-thru in a walkable urban community and is advocating reducing public park land. I’ve heard nothing of looking into bio-diesel for the city’s fleet of trucks or hybrids for city vehicles. I have not even seen the establishment of any kind of committee or group to begin investigating options for compliance by 2012, much less any real action.

The City of Clayton has an ‘Ecology and Environmental Awareness Committee’ (see April 2006 Minutes). Looks like Clayton is talking with Centene about LEED certification for their project — a start. It also looks like Clayton is making room in their budget for hybrid vehicles for city use. Nothing major but clearly open progress.
In August of 2006 Kirkwood announced an award:

The City of Kirkwood has received an award from the U.S. EPA Blue Skyways Collaborative for efforts to reduce air pollution and decrease U.S. consumption of foreign oil. The city’s efforts have included the city fleet’s Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Bio-diesel program; the city’s commitment to the Mayors’ Climate Protection Plan known as “Cool Cities”; Kirkwood Electric’s “Plug in Partnership” and energy savings program with LED street lights; and the Sanitation Division’s recycling program.

I found nothing on the websites for Maplewood, Florissant or Sunset Hills. On University City’s website I found a newsletter announcing the signing but nothing beyond that. Looks like Clayton and Kirkwood are leading the region in this area.

Did the idea of Leed certification come up in the talks between the city over Ballpark Village? If not, why? And where is the new zoning to make the 2005 adoption of the Strategic Land Use plan meaningful? Otherwise, the land use plan becomes yet another long-series of plans trumpeted and then added to the pile in city hall to collect dust.

It is certainly hard to acheive a goal without putting forth any effort to get there. Budgets are always tight and time is limited, you must have the political will to make it happen — otherwise don’t sign the agreement. Mayor Slay: do something or ask that your name be removed from the list!

Speaking of political will, I wonder if our aldermen even know about this agreement… I’m also curious to ask Aldermanic President Jim Shrewsbury and his challenger Ald. Lewis Reed how they feel about the agreement and what they think the city should be doing (or not doing) in this area.


Currently there are "15 comments" on this Article:

  1. awb says:

    I don’t know where it would fall in the categories above, but the first thing the City should do is get the traffic lights synchronized. Even the new lights on Truman Pkwy are set to make sure you stop as much as possible. This is not only bad for wasting fuel, but it’s bad for air quality.

    All those fancy new lights with cameras, and the City makes sure you spend as much time stopped as possible.

    It makes walking downtown worse, especially in the summer, breathing in all that exhaust. If the intersections are all synchrozied properly, it would also prevent a lot of the speeding on Tucker, Lindell, Jefferson, Grand, 14th, 18th, Delmar, Broadway and just about every other street that has traffic signals.

  2. Craig says:

    The unsynchronized lights are exactly why I refuse to obey stoplights downtown if no one is around.

  3. oakland says:

    “I’ve heard nothing of looking into bio-diesel for the city’s fleet of trucks or hybrids for city vehicles.”

    I’ve seen several Priuses (Prii?) with official city agency names on them, such as the Dept of Health. And they’re the pre-redesign models, which means that the city’s either had them for 3 years, or they’re fiscally responsible as to buy them used rather than pay the ridiculous demand-driven markups on new hybrids.

    I’ve also seen Aveos used for city vehicles, as opposed to the Crown Vics of the days of old. The Aveo sticker starts at $9,000 and is comparatively fuel efficient. The Prius starts at $22,000, but there’s still enough pent-up demand to make sure that nobody is buying them at sticker price.

    A coworker of mine 3 years ago bought at auction a slightly beat up city maintenance truck that had the odometer rollover to zero at least once. When it was in service, the city ran it on E85, if the label painted on the fender is to be believed.

  4. john says:

    Oh c’mon Steve… feel-good public relations trumps sincerity, especially in our area.

    These leaders should have required every other local leader to agree to such before committing these sub-communities to contradictory policies. In the StL area, standing up to other leaders in a public forum is even less noticeable than environmentally-friendly design.

    In Clayton, the council voted to have a silver level for new construction only and thus takes a pass on existing buildings (except for major renovations above a particular size). Bottom line, being green means it’s OK to build taller buildings which brings more traffic, noise and pollution to the area even though local residents don’t want them. Density can be a plus but not in a region that is so car dependent. Note that these plans have ample parking facilities not less and will bring more cars, not less, to the neighborhoods.

    Meanwhile existing buildings like schools are allowed to break every rule of being green. Let’s not even begin to discuss the “less-than-green” plan and nightmare that is highway farty.

    Yes raising standards is a good thing but the underlying stories and motivations are amusing and often contradictory to the public-relation’s labels. Don’t expect much until local leaders learn to walk before they run… get the point?

  5. If you watch “An Inconvenient Truth” Gore points out that many City governments are taking action as our Federal Government chose inaction. It would be nice to see our local cities follow through on their agreements. This is one way local governments can really change the agenda of the Federal Government. The only potential issue is that if the Federal does actually change its course, then there could be potentially *a lot* of local governments which may not meet the letter of the law. With National Supremacy, local governments would have to comply. Honestly, that may never happen and I would rather see local governments enforce their own green policies in the absence of Federal action.

  6. Jim Zavist says:

    Good intentions without consequences are difficult to enforce, but they do make for good press . . .

  7. Dear Steve,
    First of all, thank you for bringing this very important matter to the spotlight. You are right there is nothing about this initiative on the City of Maplewood website but that does not mean we are not working on this initiative!

    We are planning a spring 2007 event centered on green buildings, recycling, solar heating, etc.

    We have been in talks with Schlafly’s Tom Flood, who some of you may know from Build St. Louis. Schlafly’s Bottleworks building has been renovated to be as green as it can. They have encountered structural issues related to this matter but they are working to find ways to develop environmentally sound practices and they should be commended for their efforts. Go to their website for some “green” information: http://www.schlafly.com

    We are also working with several Maplewood residents who are developing solar energy plans for their homes or working on recycling efforts.

    Plans are in the making for a “Young Friends of Maplewood” and one of the first efforts that has been discussed are regular clean up efforts and plantings.

    Our Design & Review Board is investigating “design friendly/environmentally friendly” construction components as we see the trend beginning, we want to support homeowners and help them find the most cost efficient, aesthetic green building items out there. We hope to develop this information during 2007.

    Maplewood is part of two new phases of bike trails that will be installed over the next couple years. One is through Bike St. Louis, http://www.bikestlouis.org/, and the other through Great Rivers Greenway, http://www.greatrivers.info/

    We have a recycling program that is free to all single-family residences up to four-family residences. Recently, our city council voted to expand the program to multi-family residences. We also have a tree-planting program! http://www.cityofmaplewood.com/publicworks.aspx

    John Kramlich, a Maplewood resident, has started a website, http://www.gigoit.org which will be launched in January 2007. The concept is “choose to reuse” and John and his partners are going to help people find useful ways to deal with unwanted items.

    Several of our restaurants are smoke-free, including Schlafly, Grateful Inn, Maya Café and Red Lobster

    And last but not least, Enterprise Rent-a-Car reservation center at 2650 South Hanley Road is a green building.

    Maplewood recently approved an action plan to undertake residential development that is part of the walkable downtown community. There are two metrolink stops and we are hoping to support commuters who wish to leave their cars at home.

    We welcome any input or resources regarding the development of green communities. We are planning our event for April 2007 and as all of our events, this one is open to everyone.

    Thank you again for addressing this issue.


    Rachelle L’Ecuyer
    Director of Community Development
    City of Maplewood

  8. DeBaliviere says:

    I would very much like to see an expansion of the city’s partnership with Earth Circle Recycling to provide curbside pickup. My zip code, 63109, is not part of the pilot program, but it should be – I pay full price (which is still very reasonable) to have Earth Circle pick up my recycling, but I think that if more zip codes were invited to participate in the pilot program, it would be VERY popular. There are a few zip codes in which only a handful of households participate (63113, 63147) – it might be time to reconsider their participation in the program if serving them is not efficient.

  9. Craig says:

    In all seriousness, I hope the City does nothing on this front as it would only impose costs on citizens and businesses without doing anything to stop climate change. I encourage anyone who is serious about climate change to read the following column by respect economist Robert Samuelson.


    To summarize the column, barring a major technological breakthrough, there is no way that we can prevent the amount of global greenhouse gas emissions from increasing from current levels unless we want to halt development in the poorest of countries, thereby miring millions in continual poverty.

    The International Energy Agency calculated that even with the most heroic of measures (see the column for details), in a best case scenario, worldwide greenhouse gas emissions would still be 6% higher in 2050 than they are today.

    The governments’ efforts, if any, should go more to providing incentives for technological innovations that stop or severely curb greenhouse gas emissions.

  10. GMichaud says:

    All efforts will contribute to limiting climate change. The technical miracle may never come. There are obvious things that can be done now, most of which are also necessary for a sustainable and energy efficient culture.

    Combating global warming can also mean an improvement in lifestyle and economics, dire predictions are meant to scare people. Meanwhile actions such as rebuilding cities, curbing sprawl, and building mass transit are economic stimulus measures and also represent positive efforts to curtail global warming.

    Change is necessary. It occurs everyday and throughout the life span of an individual. Change happens for generations, and millions of years.

    The only answer is to build a sensible and sustainable society. This would be necessary even without global warming. The earth cannot sustain human activity the way it is now. Oil will run out. The forests will be cut down. The minerals will be mined out. The fish will become extinct.

    So yes recycling by one family will not change the world, even recycling by a city will have minimum impact. But such actions accumulate to create a new whole as this country and the world rearranges priorities to preserve the future of the earth.

  11. SMSPlanstu says:

    Wow, Maplewood is on the ball. Thanks Ms. L’Ecuyer!

  12. dave devore says:

    This is a joke. We are not a green friendly city. Not even close.

    How many biuldings do we have with solar panels or windmills in the city of St Louis? NONE.

    Why? No Net-Metering billing policy by AMERENUE. AMERENUE does not want it and we dare not offend them. In 35 other states, this billing policy is required but not here.

    How many new QT’s going in the city have a pump offering E85? NONE!

  13. forgotten man says:

    This whole thing is incredible. I don’t even know what is the funniest part. Is it

    1. That so many people actually believe that anthropogenic warming is established fact.

    2. That many of these people got this idea from a clearly biased politician (they all are) who made a self-agrandizing film about himself in order to secure a legacy for himself because he lost the Presidential election.

    3. That the majority of emissions are caused by government policy such as subsidizing highway costs by passing them from car drivers to taxpayers or taxing private mass transit companies out of business or prohibiting the construction of nuclear power plants. And yet this same institution is to be the savior of the world’s climate!


    4. That “recycling” is offered as a solution. Great idea, let’s get hundreds of trucks driving around, burning non-renewable resources so we can reuse renewable resources at a higher price!

  14. If any, should go more to providing incentives for technological innovations that stop or severely curb greenhouse gas emissions.

  15. Leo says:

    I dont know but why i don find such informative and profitable blogs so often,I suspect blogging world is becoming so small that we cant find such lucrative blogs like this one.
    I think you make more blogs for this type. Than we take a lots of information for it.


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