Metro leaders seek input for Kansas City area’s first climate action plan

The Kansas City area would need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 5.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2050 to achieve the Mid-America Regional Council's goal. This action would put the region in compliance with the Paris Climate Agreement. Photo credit Tyler Thompson. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Climate Action KC and the Mid-America Regional Council kicked off the public engagement process for a Kansas City-area climate action plan Thursday afternoon. The groups shared regional greenhouse gas inventory outcomes, a climate risk and vulnerability assessment, and next steps for climate action planning.

Roeland Park Mayor Mike Kelly and Councilmember Lindsey Constance, founders of the Metro KC Climate Action Coalition (rebranded as Climate Action KC), stressed the importance of public engagement to develop a shared vision for a sustainable future.

Climate Action KC is a coalition Kansas City-area cities seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop a sustainable future for the region. Founders Mike Kelly and Lindsey Constance, along with representatives of the Mid-America Regional Council, presented data virtually this Thursday.

Constance said the greenhouse gas inventory and risk assessment provide a baseline for the Kansas City area in terms of the regional level of greenhouse gas emissions, and also identifies areas where the region is vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate.

“Together, we will create a roadmap to the vision of Kansas City that we want for ourselves and for future generations — a future that is sustainable, economically prosperous and resilient,” she said.

Kelly said stakeholders have a “collective desire to do more” about the impacts of climate change in the region, such as extreme heat, flooding and drought. Creating these changes could provide economic benefits, improve public health, and increase quality of life, he said.

Reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions

Climate Action KC and MARC suggested focusing on renewable energy sources and developing green infrastructure to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

If no action is taken, greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to increase by 28% from 2005, MARC’s base year for reviewing the data, to 37 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2050. That projection is based on current population and transportation emissions forecasts for the region.

MARC hopes to achieve an 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions below the 2005 baseline by 2050; doing so puts the region in compliance with the Paris Climate Agreement. The Kansas City area would have to reduce GHG emissions to 5.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2050 to achieve that goal.

MARC and Climate Action KC suggested a range of opportunities to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, such as focusing on renewable energy sources and development of green infrastructure.

Climate Action KC and MARC are asking the public to share ideas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience. Climate Action KC plans to publish the final draft of the climate action plan in June.

Click here to review the presentation from the webinar. Below is a video of the webinar.