Realized and Projected Challenges
Due to climate change, Missouri has experienced and increase in average annual temperature and precipitation over the last half century. These changes have led to heavy precipitation and flooding during the springtime, particularly on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and their tributaries. However, shifting rainfall patterns mean that summer droughts are likely to occur more frequently and with greater severity in the coming decades. Forest cover in the state is projected to decrease with rising temperatures. Agricultural production will be impacted by flooding and droughts, but also has the potential to mitigate climate change by promoting soil carbon sequestration. Urban areas are projected to experience increasingly poor air pollution and the impacts of urban heat islands as temperatures rise, leading to harmful effects on human health.
Missouri ranks 28th in the nation for total energy per capita. While Missouri ranks 41st in total energy production compared to other states, it ranks 12th for carbon dioxide emissions. Missouri’s energy portfolio is dominated by coal, with 73% of the state’s energy provided by coal-fired power plants (as of April 2019). The Calloway Nuclear Generating Station generates 13% of the state’s net electricity. In 2018, Missouri was home to ten biodiesel plants, with a production capacity that ranks 3rd in the nation. Missouri generates relatively low amounts of renewable energy, but wind and solar power generating capacity have more than doubled between 2015 and 2020.
Ongoing Adaptation and Mitigation Efforts
Missouri passed a comprehensive state-wide energy plan in 2015. This plan made policy and program recommendations regarding energy efficiency, energy affordability, diversity and security of supply, regulatory improvements, innovation, emerging technologies, and job creation. The plan is administered by the Division of Energy within the Missouri Department of Economic Development. Missouri Energy Initiative is an independent non-profit that provides policy guidance for legislative consideration. An updated state energy plan is being considered by the 2020 Missouri General Assembly (S.B. 688).
To track with consumer demands, major public utility companies are increasing their renewable energy portfolios. Several other nonprofit and private companies provide products and guidance for reducing energy consumption, improving efficiency, and reducing carbon emissions. Further, researchers at public and private universities seek innovative solutions to the impacts of climate change on Missouri’s people, communities, and resources.