Great Plains Energy: Request for Report on Carbon Emission Reduction Goals

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  • The United Nations’ 2014 Synthesis Report states that “Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause … long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.” The report found that to avoid or mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, “the share of low‐carbon electricity supply … increases from the current share of approximately 30% to more than 80% by 2050, and fossil fuel power generation … is phased out almost entirely by 2100.” 

  • The Midwest is vulnerable to extreme weather intensified by climate change: “in 2011, 11 of the 14 weather events with damages of more than $1 billion affected the Midwest. Several types of extreme weather events have already increased in frequency and/or intensity due to climate change, and further increases are projected.” (3rd National Climate Assessment, Midwest Chapter, 2014)  

  • The Midwest will likely “experience an additional 7 to 26 days above 95°F each year by mid-century” (Risky Business 2014), and “increased demand for cooling by the middle of the century is predicted to exceed 10 gigawatts… requiring more than $6 billion in infrastructure investments.”  (3rd National Climate Assessment, Midwest Chapter, 2014) 

  • Coal fired power plants are a significant, disproportionate source of U.S. carbon emissions. Electric power accounts for 32% of U.S. carbon pollution, and “though coal accounts for about 75% of CO2 emissions from the [electric power] sector, it represents about 39% of the electricity generated in the United States. (EPA 2014)  

  • Great Plains Energy’s subsidiary Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) generates 85% of the power it sells from coal (KCP&L website). This is the 15th highest rate of coal generation of U.S. electric power producers, resulting in the 20th highest level of carbon emissions of U.S. electric power producers. (Ceres, Benchmarking Air Emissions, 2014) 

  • A study of companies in the S&P 500 found that “Setting a clear and ambitious carbon reduction target can trigger a cascade of positive results. A target provides an important internal signal of a company’s commitment to doing its part. Companies that set ambitious carbon reduction targets deliver larger emission reductions with higher financial returns than companies without such targets.” (Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), The 3% Solution, 2013) 

  • A second study found that companies with the most robust climate reporting saw higher returns on equity, larger dividends, and lower volatility than peers with partial or no carbon disclosure or reporting. (CDP, “Climate Action and Profitability”, 2014) 

RESOLVED: Shareholders request that Great Plains Energy adopt quantitative, time bound, carbon dioxide reduction goals to reduce the company’s corporate carbon emissions, and issue a report by September 1, 2015, at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, on its plans to achieve the carbon reduction goals it sets. 

Resolution Details

Company: Great Plains Energy

Lead Filer: 
As You Sow

Year: 2015

Filing Date: 
December 2014

Initiative(s): Climate Change

Status: 33.8%


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