Climate forum will allow Columbia community to give feedback

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COLUMBIA - A community forum Wednesday will address climate change in the city.

The forum will last from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber at city hall.

According to a press release from the City of Columbia, the purpose of the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan is to map out how Columbia residents and businesses can reduce emissions and build resilience amid the changing climate.

The forum will start out with a presentation of the planning process so far, and then community members will be able to split up and meet with those in charge of the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.

“We’ll have city staff and task force members available in every room so that community members can ask questions and provide feedback to us," city spokesperson Patricia Weisenfelder said. "We’ll also have comment cards available in every room as well."

Wednesday’s forum was created to allow the community to specifically review and discuss action items being considered for the plan.

The action items will address a few different areas of Columbia. Transportation, housing and building, waste, energy, natural resources, health/safety and well-being.

“The plan is going to impact everyone. Climate is kind of something that you can’t get away from. We have had really great responses from the community. People are really excited about the plan,”  Weisenfelder said.

There are more than 250 action items that need to be reviewed. A full list will be available at the forum.

"The feedback we receive at the forum will help determine which steps we'll take in order to reach Columbia's goals to reduce community emissions 80 percent by 2050 and 100 percent by 2060," Sustainability Manager Barbara Buffaloe said in a press release.

This forum follows up from a community workshop back in May, and the Climate Action Survey released in October. The staff plans to cover some of the survey results, too.

Weisenfelder urges the community to come out to the forum.

“We’ll have a lot of information to share, but we know that you all have a lot of information to share as well. So coming, listening to us and also speaking with some of the task force members and city staff about what you want to see, and how you want Columbia to move forward,” she said.

The final plan will be presented to council next summer.