St Paul Climate Justice Advisory Board, August 2021 meeting 

August 12, 2021, 6pm-7:30pm MS Teams meeting Audio only: 612-315-7905  Conference ID: 999 671 592# 

Land Acknowledgement: The city of Saint Paul is located on traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of Indigenous Dakota people. CJAB is committed to ongoing efforts to recognize, support, and advocate for American Indian Nations and peoples. 

Board members: 

  1. Adri Arquin * 

  1. Alice Wagner-Hemstad  

  1. Audel Shokohzadeh  

  1. Cheng Vang  

  1. Dominique Diaddigo-Cash  

  1. Janiece Watts *   ** 

  1. Kathleen Bacigalupi  

  1. Kristen Poppleton  

  1. Louis Offstein  

  1. Marlon Batres  

  1. May Yang-Lee  

  1. Melissa Wenzel *   ** 

  1. Nick Martin * 

  1. Patty Selly  

  1. Paul Barral  

  1. Robert M Blake 

  1. Vacancy: union representation 

* Executive Committee Member  

** Co-chair 

City staff: 

  • Russ Stark, Chief Resilience Officer 

  • Carlos Albornoz, Constituent Service Outreach Coordinator 

    Introductions 6-6:15 

    Russ presented on Climate Action & Resilience Plan 6:15-7:00 

  • 2018 CRO Position created in Mayors office by Mayor Carter focusing on climate. 

  • 2019-2020 City was selected for Bloomberg mayor’s challenge. 

  • 2019 Climate Mayor Carter joined climate mayor’s steering committee. 

  • 2019 CARP drafted via input from community forums, environmental justice advocates, district councils’ boards and committees, business review council, Saint Paul Youth Commission, e-mails, and call.  

  • Emissions breakdown: 42% Commercial, 20% Residential, 31% Travel, waste 4%, water 1%, other 3% 

  • Goal 1: zero net GHG emissions by 2050. Electricity on good trajectory, Transportation (harder), Building heating (Hardest) 

  • Patty asked what it means that electricity is on a good trajectory. Russ “that we can see the path forward to clean electricity much clearer as opposed to other sources of emissions/sectors.” 

  • Goal 2: GHG Reduction by 2030, 200MW of solar energy within STP, XCEL electricity 80% Carbon free, increase tree canopy 32.5-40%, reduce travel in gasoline powered cars, 19000 homes made deeply efficient (this will be a big point of conversation for this group.)  

  • Energy Priorities: 

  • Energy Efficiency: Targeting areas such as Rondo, Midway, Payne Phalen & North End.  

  • Reduce energy burden. 

  • Renewable energy and energy storage 

  • District heating and cooling uses a combination of wood waste and natural gas to heat and cool buildings in downtown. 

  • Electrification: switching from traditional cars to electric cars 

  • Transportation goals 

  • Reduce single occupant car trips. 

  • Increase bike ridership. 

  • 30% electric cars by 2030 

  • Ongoing project: Public electric car charging and car share service 

  • EV carshare service with four parking spaces, two for carshare cars and two for private cars 

  • Zero emission carshare service 

  • City will own charging infrastructure and will lease cars. 

  • 50% or more of   hubs will be focused in communities of color i.e.  Midway, Payne Phalen, North End, Dayton’s Bluff, West Side 

  • Current projection has about 75% reduction by 2050 with assumption that plan will be amended and improved on over time to hit net zero GHG goal by 2050 

  • Questions 7:00-7:15 

  • Patty asked, “What is the role or impact of electric scooters and if they are efficient.” Russ: downside of scooters is that they are disposable. Key to efficiency is how they are used if for fun it is a net negative. If it is used as substitute for driving, then net positive.  

  • Louis asked about the new natural gas plant from Excel, concerned about methane emissions from it. Russ: Excel in their integrated resource plan proposed to retire all coal plants and increase renewables but also to build fossil gas burning plant to replace the outgoing coal plants. City has written official comments opposing this new gas plant.  

  • Louis asked about Metro Transit having committed to all electric buses but recently dropped that commitment. Russ: they did commit to it but because of technical issues resulting from these busses are instead buying biodiesel buses, which are better than traditional buses but not as good as electric when it comes to emissions.  

  • Adri asked about impact of pension funds and pension fund that are in fossil fuel companies. Russ: Cities in Minnesota are not permitted to invest in stocks. City employees are part of PERA, so it comes down to our ability to influence the state direction.  

  • Audel asked what is being done to make sure current/upcoming construction meets sustainability criteria/goals. Russ: City has sustainable building ordinance which requires all rehabs of building that are being at least partially financed by city ($200,000+) to meet much more stringent criteria which means as off 2020 they must be 80% more efficient than the baseline created in 2005. Future meeting will include presentation of Cities Sustainable Building Ordinance. Also, part of multi-city effort to accelerate state energy codes. 

  • May asked “what programs are available to provide energy assistance by the City”. Russ: PPP was created to see how effective guaranteed income is at helping these families. It is not intended to be scaled up to city. We do not have great programs in energy space just yet, looking to build programs in combination with Xcel energy and other partners 

  • Kathleen asked, “can the City change building codes.”. Russ: We can only require higher standards   if we are investing money in a project. Otherwise, must follow state energy codes. This is why we are trying to push state code to be better.   

  • Defining Climate Justice 7:15-7:30 

  • Current definition of climate justice: The City of Saint Paul has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions community-wide 50% by 2030 and down to net zero by 2050.  The City recognizes that policies and programs could have negative impacts on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities and under-resourced residents if the needs of and challenges faced by these groups are not explicitly addressed.  The transition to cleaner energy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions will require significant investment in our communities, and the CJAB will help to ensure that Saint Paul’s most vulnerable residents benefit as much or more from these changes as the City’s less vulnerable populations. 

  • Patty asked if we should look to wordsmith or instead focus on bigger ideas. Russ recommended board focused on big ideas and creating a clear definition of Climate Justice. 

  • Patty commented Climate resilience is referring to a noun in definition but instead look to focus on climate resilience on group and wellbeing. 

  • Kristen commented that the city decided to have a Climate Justice Advisory Board not change or resilience board. Saying that we should focus on changing things through climate justice not through other means. 

  • Adri commented Climate Justice should be the solution to the problem that is environmental racism and figuring out what exactly is environmental racism. Climate justice is used to combat environmental racism by increasing access to transportation, resources, combating economic disparities etc.  

  • Dominque commented that the actions the City prioritizes will help determine the degree to which it is seeking climate justice  .  

  • Audel commented that we should have proactive language in our definition of climate justice that addresses the issues that have brought about a need for climate justice.  

  • Russ offered to draft definition of Climate justice. Board agreed that this would be helpful.  

  • Question asking if there is a way in SharePoint to crowd create a doc in SharePoint and comment on it. Carlos responded saying that it is possible to do that.  

  • Russ commented that we should start a draft of bylaws in SharePoint and build from that.  

  • Meeting ended 7:30 

  • Focus on accessibility: translated language, options to use car share service without need for credit cards or cell phones. 

Last Edited: July 20, 2022