Columbia city council to vote on roadmap of city's environmental future

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COLUMBIA - The city council plans to vote on the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) on Monday.

The plan is not laws and ordinances, but rather a blueprint for Columbia to follow for years to come regarding climate change. 

The plan states the goal for Columbia is to "reduce community emissions 35% by 2035, 80% by 2050 and 100% by 2060," but also "reduce municipal emissions 50% by 2035 and 100% by 2050."

One member of the mayor’s task force for CAAP said, for the city to reach these goals, changes will have to happen.

"Each of the actions, many of them, will require, for example, ordinance changes or other resolutions to be adopted," said Carolyn Amparan. 

Amparan also said it will make certain things better in the city in the long run.

"We'll wind up with a better public transportation system, several of the changes will help us to have cleaner air locally, we'll have more shade trees [and] we'll have more energy efficient homes, which means we'll be spending less of our budgets on electricity or heating and cooling type things," said Amparan.

One city council member said this plan could help the city in the future in regards to weather changes.

"Locally, we might expect more heavier rainfall at times and so being able to be more resistant to flood types of things like we've seen recently is going to be good for the city," said Mike Trapp.

Trapp also said the city is already working well with renewable energy.

"In the seven years that I've been on council, we've tripled our amount of renewable energy from a little under five percent to over 15 percent," said Trapp. 

While the city may not yet know the cost of the future plans, there is a tentative idea of how to pay for it.

"The goal is to not have to raise taxes and to do a lot of these changes through implementing change and then using the savings [from the previous project] to re-invest in the next change," Amparan said.

According to Ms. Amparan, one of the misunderstandings of the plan was citizens were going to be forced to take necessary measures, but she said that's not the case.

"Most of the things in the plan are being offered as incentives and not mandates," said Amparan.

Another incentive is for landlords in the Columbia area to become more energy-efficient.

"We want to make sure when renters are looking at places in Columbia that they are energy-efficient and that will put pressure on the landlords to make the necessary adjustments," Amparan said. 

To look at the energy history of your current or future rental unit, click here.

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