Carbon Emissions | St. Louis Public Radio

Carbon Emissions

Danforth Center researcher Malia Gehan next to a growth chamber containing plants in September 2019.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

Scientists at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Washington University are studying the long-term consequences of exposing plants to high levels of carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere are the highest they’ve been in 800,000 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Scientists expect levels of the greenhouse gas to continue to rise and worsen the effects of climate change over the next several decades if people do not reduce their use of fossil fuels and other natural resources.

Ameren Missouri's Labadie Energy Center in Labadie, Missouri.
File Photo | Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri and Illinois are producing less carbon pollution than a decade ago but are still emitting more than many other states, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. 

Both states have cut their emissions from 2005 by about a sixth, according to the federal statistics agency, a division of the U.S. Department of Energy. However, Missouri and Illinois are among the states with the top 15 highest emissions.

Ameren's Callaway nuclear power plant produces about 19 percent of the electricity the company generates in Missouri. It is the only nuclear energy facility in the state.
File photo | Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

Ameren Missouri has proposed expanding its energy-efficiency programs to ease the company’s impact on the environment.

In a proposal to the Missouri Public Service Commission on Tuesday, the utility sought approval to invest $550 million in 26 programs that would help customers save energy.

The programs would help people recycle old, inefficient appliances; educate those in low-income communities on how to lower energy use; and promote smart thermostats to reduce electricity costs during the high energy consumption that happens in the summer.

St. Louis Public Radio

The coal industry has hit hard times.

This summer several coal companies, including Alpha Natural Resources and Patriot Coal, filed for bankruptcy.

St. Louis-based Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private coal company, is not immune. The coal giant’s share price has fallen nearly 97 percent in the last five years. The company recently did a reverse stock split, bundling 15 shares into one in order to avoid share prices going below $1.

Peabody Energy spokesman Vic Svec said as a commodity business, they’re used to the volatility.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

A tractor trailer from Anheuser-Busch’s St. Louis brewery will be hard to miss.

The trucks have gone green, both literally and figuratively.

The beer giant announced Tuesday that it’s converted 97 diesel tractor trucks to compressed natural gas. To highlight the change, all of the trucks now sport a bright green exterior and Anheuser-Busch’s “Seed to Sip” logo.

Air pollution from coal-fired power plants, industrial activities, and cars contributes to asthma and other health problems in the St. Louis area.
Syracuse University News Services

The American Lung Association says a data collection glitch in Illinois means it can’t determine whether air quality in the city of St. Louis has worsened.

Credit Syracuse University News Services

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first-ever rule to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.

Under the new limits, Missouri would need to reduce its emissions by about 21 percent over the next 15 years.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra spoke with EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks about the plan, which Brooks said is designed to give states maximum flexibility.

(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

The Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Clean Power Plan will be a historic milestone in the vein of the 1970’s Clean Water and Clean Air acts.

That was Karl Brooks’ message to members of the St. Louis Regional Chamber at a breakfast event Wednesday morning. Brooks is the administrator of EPA’s Region 7, which includes Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska.

The Clean Power Plan proposes cutting power plants' carbon emissions by 30 percent by the year 2030.

Gov. Nixon Launches New State Energy Plan

Jun 18, 2014

Gov. Jay Nixon signed an executive order on Wednesday, officially launching the development of a comprehensive state energy plan.

Ameren Missouri's largest coal-fired power plant in Labadie, Missouri.
File photo | Veronique LaCapra I St. Louis Public Radio

The Environment Protection Agency’s proposed regulations on carbon emissions released earlier this month are sparking debate on whether the rule changes will create jobs or kill jobs.

The new rules seek to reduce American’s carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector by 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels. States have until June 30, 2016 to draft plans for how to reduce their average emissions.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s decision to bypass Congress and impose new regulations that aim to reduce harmful emissions drew praise Tuesday from environmental groups and harsh criticism from many coal-state lawmakers.

Arguing that the challenge of climate change “does not pause for partisan gridlock,” Obama told a Georgetown University audience that his Climate Action Plan would cut carbon pollution and “protect our country from the impacts of climate change.”

Commentary: U.S. exports carbon emissions

May 1, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Multiple reports about reduced carbon emissions in the United States are deceptively optimistic.

The apparent upside includes World Bank data reporting per-capita U.S. emission decreases of 12.4 percent from 2005 to 2009, with per capita energy use achieving a post 1967 nadir. Similarly, the International Energy Agency indicates that the U.S. had the world’s largest global emissions decrease in the last six years; that our share of the global total declined from 26 percent in 1980 to 16 percent today.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 24, 2009 - When it comes to predicting how Missourians will be affected by the cap-and-trade legislation moving through Congress, the size of the impact depends a lot on whose crystal ball you are using.

Few people dispute that there will be costs if a climate-control bill passes and is signed by President Barack Obama. The debate begins when you try to determine how large the increase will be -- and whether the higher price is worth paying for the cleaner environment that is supposed to result.

Commentary: Like politics, all climate is local

Jul 16, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 16, 2009 - When Barack Obama took the oath of office, he inherited a house on fire. Two interminable foreign wars notwithstanding, his most pressing challenge was how cope with the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the president and his Democratic colleagues on Capitol Hill are attempting to douse the flames with gasoline. Pending Cap & Trade legislation provides a case in point.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 13, 2009 - An enormous balancing act is rapidly unfolding in our nation, with the very real possibility of bankrupting us all. We need an immediate and active debate about proposals to tax carbon, recognizing the costs involved and recent findings that significant reductions in carbon emissions will not dramatically impact global temperatures. Indeed, there are renewed concerns that the science of global warming has yet to be settled.

St. Louis' outsized carbon footprint

May 30, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: May 30, 2008 - The St. Louis metropolitan area has an outsized carbon footprint, with each resident spewing over 40 percent more into the atmosphere than the average. In the race to the climate change bottom, that ranks St. Louis seventh worst among the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas.