Columbia climate task force continues work, mulls standards for energy, recycling

The city of Columbia’s plan to address threats posed by Earth’s warming climate continued to progress toward a final draft with a meeting Dec. 6.

Following high turnout for a forum in late November to gather public feedback, the Mayor’s Task Force on Climate Action and Adaptation Planning is entering the last of three drafting phases for its Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. A finalized plan is scheduled to be presented to the city council in June.

“It’s crunch time, as you look at the next six months,” task force chair Jay Hasheider said.

Over this stretch, the task force is working to incorporate several moving parts into what will ultimately become the final plan. These include the findings of an ongoing projection, or wedge analysis, of city emissions; separate outlines for implementation and monitoring; and public feedback about which actions and goals to prioritize.

At the previous meeting, attendees participated in an informal vote to indicate their support for proposed actions in six areas — Transportation, Housing/Building & Development, Waste, Energy, Health and Natural Resources.

Some of the more popular initiatives were the adoption of roll carts for trash and recycling collection, the addition of tree cover for city sidewalks, and investment in solar energy infrastructure on city property.

The process is ongoing, but some of the proposed actions in the plan could affect Columbia businesses.

For example, one action popular at the forum would require new rental properties to meet more stringent energy efficiency standards. Another popular measure would require commercial customers to recycle cardboard, paper and beverage containers.

Other proposed actions that could affect Columbia businesses include:

  • Requiring all city buildings to reduce energy usage by 20 percent in the next five years.
  • Forcing all commercial and large residential buildings to disclose energy usage.
  • Mandating that existing rental properties meet “basic energy efficiency standards.”

At the next meeting in January, the task force plans to finalize which actions are priorities based on public input.

Missouri Business Alert’s sustainability coverage is funded in part by the Mid-Missouri Solid Waste Management District.

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