What is our impact?
Greenhouse gas emission inventories
Earth’s atmosphere does the same thing as a greenhouse. Gases in the atmosphere such as carbon dioxide do what the roof of a greenhouse does. During the day, the Sun shines through the atmosphere. Earth’s surface warms up in the sunlight. At night, Earth’s surface cools, releasing the heat back into the air. But some of the heat is trapped by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. If the greenhouse effect is too strong, Earth gets warmer and warmer. This is what is happening now. Too much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the air are making the greenhouse effect stronger.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are tracked in accordance with the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories, the standard that most cities use for GHG emissions tracking. The inventory identifies both the quantity and sources of GHG emissions produced from activities within the City of Columbia. This data is made available to the public in order to assist informed decision-making to determine future actions to be taken by the community. These emissions-reducing actions will be included in Columbia’s first Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.
GHG Emissions Inventory reports: GHG report for 2000 & 2005 opens in a new window, GHG report for 2010 opens in a new window, GHG report for 2015 opens in a new window (executive summary of 2015 report opens in a new window).
Why should we care?
Climate Trends and Vulnerabilities for Columbia, Missouri
As the climate continues to change, communities across the U.S. and the world are asking “How are these changes already affecting my community?” and “What local impacts could be experienced from future changes to the climate?”. To help answer these questions, communities use a tool called a vulnerability assessment . A consultant team reviewed the best scientific information available about changes in temperature, precipitation, and other climate-related factors that Columbia may experience; those findings are available in the climate trends summary. That information was then applied to Columbia’s unique social, economic, and environmental context with inputs from City staff and the Mayor’s Task Force. Vulnerability rankings are based on this analysis, taking into account three key factors in relation to anticipated climate change impacts:
1. Exposure: the number of people and value of assets in harm’s way or at risk due to their physical location.
2. Sensitivity: the severity of consequences of being exposed to these risks and the degree to which climate change exacerbated existing stressors.
3. Adaptive capacity: steps the City and community are already taking to prepare for climate change impacts and whether they have existing capacity to accelerate and/or expand those efforts, if needed.
This overview summarizes the findings of the vulnerability assessment. More detailed information about each focus area is provided in a series of four supplementary fact sheets.
VA: Health, Safety and Well-being opens in a new window
VA: Built Environment- Housing, Transportation and Stormwater Mgmt opens in a new window
VA: Water Supply and Quality opens in a new window
VA: Open Space and Agriculture opens in a new window
What’s our plan (for the plan!)?
Climate Action & Adaptation Plan development timeline
Current planning milestones of Climate Action & Adaptation Plan
On June 17, 2017, Columbia City council passed Resolution R-83-17A, reaffirming the commitment of the City of Columbia to take action to reduce climate pollution; authorizing participation in the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and taking steps to create a Climate Action Plan.
On November 20, 2017, Columbia City Council approved a professional services agreement with Cascadia Consulting Group to facilitate the development of Columbia’s Climate Action & Adaptation Plan. The agreement can be found here and the discussion at the City Council meeting can be found here (at 2:00:52).
December 4, 2017 – Office of Sustainability staff gave a presentation on the process for the Climate Action & Adaptation Plan. The slides can be found here. Meeting minutes will be posted once available.
December 18, 2017 – Columbia City Council adopted Resolution R-184-17, establishing a Mayor’s Task Force on Climate Action & Adaptation Planning. Interested participants are encouraged to contact their Council representative to express interest in serving on the task force. Appointments will be made by Mayor Treece in January 2018.
February 5, 2018 – Mayor Treece appointed members to the Mayor’s Task Force on Climate Action and Adaptation Planning. A list of members and meeting agendas and minutes can be found here.
May 22, 2018 – Mayor’s Task Force on Climate Action and Adaptation Planning hosted a community workshop at the ARC.
June 4, 2018 – City Staff and members of the Mayor’s Task Force on Climate Action and Adaptation Planning presented an update to Columbia City Council at their work session. This presentation reviewed the climate trends and vulnerabilities for Columbia. It also introduced proposed emission reductions goals.
August 20, 2018 – Columbia City Council adopted Resolution R-130-18 – Adopting goals for the reduction of community and municipal carbon emissions through local policies, services and practices.
Additional resources for climate action planning in Columbia include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy requirements
- STAR Community Rating System
- Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN)
- CDP online software tools such as CRAFT (Climate Risk and Adaptation Framework and Taxonomy) and other relevant tools
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) framework
- Current objectives for biodiversity conservation from Missouri Department of Conservation’s 2015 Missouri State Wildlife Action Plan
- State and Federal regulations
Climate in the Heartland report – The goal of this report is to assist cities as they prepare for climate change impacts, adapting their operations to better serve citizens in a changing environment. Historical climate data and future climate projections inform municipal staff and elected officials of weather conditions that are anticipated to exceed historical bounds.