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Summary: Solve climate by 2030 – Climate Solutions for Missouri webinar

Written by Sandra Lee, RD, MPH candidate, Brown School and research assistant for the Global Health Center at the Institute for Public Health

Washington University in St. Louis and University of Missouri-St. Louis recently hosted the webinar, Solve Climate by 2030 – Climate Solutions for Missouri. This was part of a nationwide digital teach-in series, in which each webinar discussed state-specific climate actions.

The webinar began with a short video by Dr. Eban Goodstein, director of Graduate Programs in Sustainability at Bard College. His power dialogue introduction emphasized, “What we do locally will change the future.” He highlighted the need to prepare and take preventative action by advocating for clean and affordable power and mobility by using solar, wind, battery storage, and electric vehicles at the local level.

Afterwards, three panelists provided presentations on climate solutions for Missouri. John Hickey, Missouri Chapter Director of Sierra Club, stressed that coal-fired power plants generating electricity were the biggest source of greenhouse gas pollution in Missouri. He provided three solutions:

  • Approve the Grain Belt Express transmission line to bring wind energy for electricity from southwest Kansas to across the state of Missouri
  • Enforce jurisdiction to modernize out-of-date building energy codes to reduce drafty and inefficient houses
  • Transition to electric transit buses to provide cleaner transportation

Andrew Linhares, Regional Director & Senior Counsel of Renew Missouri, stated that energy efficiency was the cleanest and cheapest form for utilities and customers. Missouri was ranked 30th out of 50 states for energy efficiency. His three solutions were:

  • Remove barriers to access renewables by raising net metering caps and allowing energy contracts
  • Residents and commercial customers should enroll in sustainable utility programs
  • Missouri should commit to 100% clean energy

Gwen Mizell, VP of Sustainability and Electrification at Ameren, pointed out that everyone should be responsible and could play a role in solving climate change. Ameren offers multiple innovative programs based on three sustainable strategies:

  • Environmental: offer clean and rapid energy programs that meet customers’ needs and are affordable; reduce and remove existing coal-fired plants; increase energy efficiency; focus on innovation
  • Social: build relationships and help employees, suppliers, and communities thrive
  • Governance: enforce standards and ensure accountability of sustainable strategies in the company

After the presentations, there was a panel discussion about collaborations, acceleration of changes, and policy advocacy. In addition to taking steps on the individual level, it is essential to have commitments related to climate change at the policy level. Finally, the webinar concluded with actions that everyone could take:

  • Read more about climate solutions
  • Reduce personal energy use
  • Tell the family about Ameren’s Community Solar program
  • Tell the mayor to sign “Mayors for Clean Energy”
  • Write to MO legislators – tell them what to do and why
  • Explore the SWITCH Energy Alliance webpage