Climate Action Planning

Climate change is a serious threat to the health, safety, and quality of life for all Saint Paul residents, as well as their friends and loved ones around the world. A changing climate may impact our air quality, water resources, electricity delivery, and food systems. In October 2018, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C, finding that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global human-caused carbon emissions would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050 to avoid the most negative impacts of climate change. The City of Saint Paul is dedicated to reducing these impacts through both policy and action.

Climate Change Action Plan
The City of Saint Paul, in partnership with the Great Plains Institute, is developing its Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. The plan will focus on achieving carbon neutrality in city operations by 2030, and citywide by 2050. This work includes compiling data on energy use, transportation emissions, solid waste, and water treatment and distribution. Strategies to lessen the impacts of climate change will focus on what residents can do in their daily lives, as well as policy and regulatory actions the City can take, to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to the changing climate, and improve quality of life in the city.

Community engagement and plan adoption will occur in 2019.

Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge
In October 2108, Saint Paul and Minneapolis were selected as winners in Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge, a $70 million-dollar program that will accelerate efforts in 25 winning cities to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for residents. Through this program, Saint Paul plans to:

  • Build 35 mobility hubs to offer more low-carbon mobility options, including electric carshare, placing residents within a ten-minute walk of four human-powered, electric, or low-carbon mobility options;
  • Achieve greater carbon reduction through retrofits and tune-ups in city-owned buildings;
  • Increase efforts to promote the use of low-carbon mobility options and fill in critical gaps in biking and walking infrastructure; Create new pathways for Saint Paul residents to enter into the emerging clean energy economy.
  • Ensure the Ford Site is developed as sustainably as possible, with a goal of making the development carbon-neutral-ready;

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Energize Saint Paul
Energize Saint Paul provides resources for property owners and residents to increase their energy and water efficiency. As a partnership between the City and the public, commercial and residential building owners, Energize Saint Paul aims to make the City the first place building owners can go to make their buildings more efficient, reduce utility costs and greenhouse gas emissions, and make our city more vibrant and resilient.

In the summer of 2018, Energize Saint Paul launched Race to Reduce, a summer program for large commercial, multifamily, and public buildings to maximize their energy efficiency with operations and maintenance based solutions. More than 100 participating buildings benchmarked their energy usage, participated in networking events and webinars, and utilized tips from energy partners to implement energy efficiency strategies.

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Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy
The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate Energy is an international alliance of cities and local governments with a shared long-term vision of promoting and supporting voluntary action to combat climate change and move to a low emission, resilient society. Saint Paul made the pledge in 2015 to undertake an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, set emissions reduction targets, and to develop a climate action plan. Mayor Carter renewed the City of Saint Paul’s commitment in 2018.

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Sustainable Building Policy
Adopted in 2010, the Sustainable Building Policy requires that certain construction projects be built to a high green standard.

The Saint Paul Sustainable Building Policy applies to each new construction project that either:

  • receives more than $200,000 in City/Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA)/public funding; or
  • is owned by the City or HRA; or
  • is built with the intent of having the City or HRA become the sole tenant.

If one of the above criteria is met, the Policy also applies to:

  • parking lots and structures; and
  • additions to existing buildings that include a new Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system

Voluntary adoption of the Sustainable Building Policy may result in lower operating costs, increased rental rates, higher productivity, higher tenant satisfaction, increased property values, and enhanced marketability.

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