Columbia City Council approves climate change resolution
COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council unanimously voted Monday night to approve a resolution reaffirming the city's commitment to the environment.
The resolution authorizes Columbia's participation in the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and taking steps to create a Climate Action Plan. Columbia along with other cities across the country began creating and signing similar resolutions after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris climate agreement.
According to Mayor Brian Treece, there are now 305 mayors across the country who have signed onto this climate action plan. There are four other Missouri cities aside from Columbia that are also participating: St. Louis, Kansas City, O'Fallon, and University City.
"Columbia has always been a leader in these efforts," Treece said. "What the resolution does is make a clear statement that we're going to intend to continue to follow some of those agreements and some of those goals of the Paris climate accord.”
City of Columbia Sustainability Manager Barbara Buffaloe said the city council looked at other communities as model resolutions before putting its draft together.
"The requirements for global covenant of mayors is that you first set your goals, then you measure your current emissions, and then you develop a climate action plan within 3 years," Buffaloe said.
The four main points the resolutions mention include: building a community greenhouse emission inventory, identifying climate hazards, establishing climate reduction targets within one year, and providing an annual update on the climate action plan.
“Before we can change something we have to measure it, so what this resolution will do is increase the mechanism by which we begin to measure greenhouse gases. Right now the city of Columbia measures greenhouse gas emissions every five years, but this will accelerate that to every year. From there we will begin to measure how to change some of our practices,” Treece said.
In addition, Treece said the resolution is very much an economic issue as much as it's about protecting the environment. The resolution encourages businesses and people to take steps to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption.
"Businesses and homeowners alike are going to look for ways that they can begin to reduce their footprint and look at their energy consumption that saves money on their utility bill," Treece said.
Buffaloe said climate change and reducing greenhouse gases have been on Columbia's agenda for quite some time.
"We have already done a lot of the work leading up to this. You know in 2006, the city of Columbia signed on for the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, so we have been working on these issues even before then," Buffaloe said.