When thinking of climate change, it is easy to picture coastal cities being swallowed by the ocean or extreme natural disasters dismantling cities. Kansas City is a place that people often overlook in regards to climate change. Being located in the middle of the United States would seem to have its advantages, however, Kansas City’s climate is in a humid continental climate zone. A humid continental climate zone is temperate, but has extremes of heat, cold, and precipitation. According to ClimateLook’s Analysis for Kansas City, climate change for Kansas City is expected to be seen in temperature increases for all seasons, more frequent heat waves, and increases in precipitation with more extreme rainfall events and longer consecutive dry days. In the future, rising greenhouse gas emissions are projected to exacerbate these issues even more. The Weather Channel lists Kansas City as the city fifth-most affected by climate change in the U.S. in their Climate Disruption Index.
In the past ten years, Kansas City, Missouri has been making great efforts to reduce carbon emissions. In 2008, Kansas City’s city council adopted a Climate Protection Plan with the goals of reducing city government and community wide greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 30% by 2020. According to the City of Kansas City, Missouri Greenhouse Gas Inventory Update, Kansas City has reduced city government GHG emissions by 25% since 2000, and is well on target to reduce by 30% by 2020. However, since 2000, community wide GHG emissions have only reduced by 4%.
In other ways, Kansas City’s government has been taking initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The 2016 Mayor’s Energy Challenge invited Kansas City businesses and institutions to increase their 2016 ENERGY STARⓇ Score over their 2014 ENERGY STARⓇ Score. Kansas City Public Schools won the award for the most increased 2016 ENERGY STARⓇ Score!
The Kansas City Climate Protection Steering Committee met June 16th to discuss climate policy. Mayor James was one of the 257 U.S. Mayors to adopt, honor, and uphold the Paris Climate Agreement goals following the recent U.S. withdrawal. The Climate Protection Steering Committee reviewed the draft of the Regional Climate Resiliency Strategy document, which has been approved by the Mid-America Regional Council’s Board of Directors. A great emphasis in the draft was put on social equity and how low-income neighborhoods are disproportionately affected by climate change. In order to address these inequities, conversations about climate resilience strategy need to be had according to the community’s needs. The need for taking action was stressed in the meeting with an emphasis on traffic flow synchronization and tree planting. Communities can take action by planting trees or by volunteering with organizations such as Heartland Tree Alliance.
The HCA Youth Council will be working on projects that are in line with the Climate Protection Plan and Regional Climate Resiliency Strategy. The Heartland Conservation Alliance’s Youth Council is now taking applications for members! Members need to be between the ages of 14 and 24 with strong interests in conservation, leadership, and community service. An informational meeting will be held Tuesday, July 18th at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center located at 4750 Troost Ave. Pizza will be provided. For more information information, please contact Jacquie Whalen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BoysGrow and Missouri Department of Conservation with support from Heartland Conservation Allianceand National Fish and Wildlife Foundation work to regenerate a wetland at Municipal Farm by removing cattails and planting native wetland plants. Photos by Josh Anderson.