Climate Action and Resilience Plan public hearing

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The Saint Paul City Council will be holding a public hearing tonight Wednesday Dec 18 on the Climate Action and Resilience Plan – or as some are calling it the “CARP”. The public hearing portion begins at 5:30pm at City Council Chambers at City Hall.

Please come down tonight to support this plan or email your City Council representative with your input.

In general, the plan is long overdue. Its goal is to reduce Saint Paul’s carbon footprint 50% by 2030 and to be carbon neutral by 2050. The majority of this undertaking will actually come from a commitment by Xcel Energy to provide carbon-free electricity by 2050.

 If nothing else in this plan came to fruition, Xcel’s conversion to carbon-free electricity would reduce the footprint by 40%.

So, with 60% to make-up in other ways what does the plan set out to do? The plan examines the critical areas that make up the carbon profile in the City of Saint Paul. The majority of these emissions come from 1) Travel and 2) Building energy use.

Again – building energy use will in part become neutral due to the Xcel commitment.

About the CARP

The CARP is like most other very high-level city plans – it sets goals but really lacks teeth when it comes to how these goals will be realistically met through implementation, measured and assessed, and how the plan and goals will be integrated into the City’s other plans, methodologies, and departments.

It does have a better Implementation section this go around, however. It includes some action items but for the most part, this plan is going to have to be supported with a hundred other plans that show the definitive steps and key measurable it will take to commit to and accomplish these goals. It will also require funding and most likely personnel.

The plan will absolutely require a strong commitment from the Mayor and City Council.. Every single development or transportation project needs to be evaluated in terms of this plan’s goals. If those projects aren’t somehow adopting the goals of this plan, then they need to be revised to take  these objectives into account or at minimum do no harm towards them. 

Projects like Ayd Mill Road, more citywide bike and pedestrian infrastructure, green development at sites like the Ford Site and Hillcrest, and building out a more accessible, citywide transit network needs to be prioritized and should not be compromised when there is pushback. We need to be looking at our existing plans and revising them to incorporate these goals.

The Takeaway

Overall – this is a good plan and contains most of the objectives that Sustain Saint Paul would like to see the City and its residents strive towards. This draft of the plan is a lot stronger than the previous one and it should be passed so that the real business of driving the changes can start.

Climate Action and Resilience Plan Public Hearing

5:30pm Wednesday December 18
Saint Paul City Council Chambers
City Hall 3rd Floor
15 W Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55102