Developing Equity-Centered Policies to Reduce Harmful Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The City of Kansas City, like many cities throughout the US, is experiencing the impacts of climate change like never before– through increased temperatures, increased periods of drought, and more frequent flooding. Kansas City generates 18 tons of greenhouse gasses per person (three times the world average). In the early 2000s, the Mayor and City Council first committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, developing the city's Climate Protection Plan. In 2020, the City Council passed an additional resolution directing the city to update the original Climate Protection Plan to include new greenhouse gas reduction goals, resiliency, and equity. Kansas City is focused on reaching the goal of becoming a carbon-neutral, equity-focused, and resilient city by 2040.
Buildings are one of the largest and fastest-growing sources of Kansas City's climate emissions. To address these buildings and ensure they are powered with clean energy, Kansas City must set Building Performance Standards. Kansas City will partner with FUSE Corps to engage with community stakeholders to co-create an equity-centered Building Performance Standards Ordinance. The FUSE Executive Fellow will formally outline a framework that sets mandatory greenhouse gas and energy use intensity benchmarks, phasing the performance standards overtime to provide flexibility for building and business owners to choose the technologies or operational strategies that are most cost-effective for them to meet the targets. This work will ensure that city-wide buildings adopt energy efficiency measures. Reducing emissions through this tool will support Kansas City in curbing the harmful health and climate impacts of fossil fuels in the city.