After 16 months of research and planning, the Mayor’s Task Force for Climate Action and Adaptation Planning has completed its plan to make Columbia a carbon neutral city by the year 2060. The task force presented its plan to the public Monday night.
Energy consumption accounts for 70 percent of Columbia’s greenhouse gas emissions. The largest change the city is expected to make is a shift to 100 percent clean energy sources. The plan calls for Columbia Water and Light to purchase and produce 100 percent renewable energy.
Task force member Carolyn Amparan said most people will not notice the changes.
“People will still turn on their light switch and get electricity. Another change that will be more noticeable, is that people will be shifting from natural gas to heat their home to electricity,” Amparan said.
Amparan said individuals will need to shift towards cleaner cars and appliances over time as well. “We’re hoping that by educating people about the need to make those changes, as people are buying new appliances and cars, that they’ll be deciding to make the change that’s the right choice, not only for themselves, but for the climate.”
Kim Wade, another member of the task force, said one of the most important things a person can do is talk about climate change.
“We need to break the spiral of silence,” Wade said. “We need to be talking about climate change frequently. We need to be talking about it with our friends, our neighbors, our coworkers, strangers, and finding ways to have those conversations.”
The plan is available to view online, and the public is encouraged to provide feedback. The survey to provide feedback on the plan will be open until May 10. City Council will discuss the plan in a work session May 20, and vote to implement the plan on June 17.