Researchers from the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center (BPCRC) at The Ohio State University have presented the Columbus Climate Adaptation Plan (CCAP) to the city. The primary goal of the document is to prepare the city and its residents for the projected effects of climate change and inform them of adaptations that should be made. BPCRC researchers collaborated with more than 75 local stakeholders and technical experts to develop the action plan.
The plan examines eight areas along with recommended action items:
- Extreme heat;
- Air quality and energy;
- Water quality;
- Water use;
- Emergency preparedness; and,
- Vulnerable populations.
The action items are divided into two categories: necessary and aspirational. Recommended actions include establishing a larger, better coordinated, and more responsive network of cooling centers; modernizing the electric grid for greater resilience and more efficient energy distribution; developing an emergency plan to be implemented during flooding; upgrading the sewer system and sewage treatment infrastructure; promoting the responsible use of fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides; developing new app or integrating with an existing app for environmental hazard alerts; and, addressing inclusivity issues.
“The ‘necessary’ recommendations are the bare minimum the city should do,” said Jason Cervenec, education and outreach director for BPCRC and chair of the task force. “They are the highest priority actions with the fewest barriers to implementation and the biggest return on investment.”
The recommendations build upon a prior report, Climate Change in Columbus, Ohio, developed in 2016 by the university, the City of Columbus, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessment team at the University of Michigan
“It’s really about determining where climate change intersects your job, your interests and your life, and then making changes to reduce your risk and increase your resilience,” said Cervenec.