Collaborating for Climate Action: Get to Know Columbia’s CAAP Teams

The City of Columbia’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) is taking bold steps to reduce our community’s contribution climate change and prepare for risks that threaten our community, like extreme heat and storms. However, this progress can’t be achieved in isolation; it requires active collaboration and coordination throughout our city government. That’s why we’ve created six Climate Action and Adaptation Plan Teams — made up of over 40 City employees — to help us achieve the actions in our CAAP and create a more sustainable future for our community for decades to come.

Climate change affects nearly every part of daily life for our community. From public health and safety to parks and energy infrastructure - we know that climate action needs to be implemented across all departments in order to address the diverse impacts, risks, and vulnerabilities we currently face. That’s why 29 different divisions and 10 different City departments have come together to form CAAP Teams – over 40 municipal employees in all!  Each member of our CAAP Teams have volunteered their time and expertise to advance climate action in Columbia through inter-departmental conversation and collaboration that pushes us towards our community sustainability goals. These teams act as creative engines that identify, design, and champion projects and programs that support the Climate Action & Adaptation Plan Goals.

"I like being a member of the CAAP team because the work matters and I want to be a part of it." 

 Ramon Garza, Clean Transportation CAAP Team

Although team members come from departments across the City, the focuses of our CAAP Teams fall into six key categories:

Through their work together, all six teams focus on projects that have direct impacts on decreasing Columbia’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and enhancing our climate resilience. Team members develop innovative ideas and initiatives, ensure accurate tracking of results, and provide key insight and expertise to CAAP Core and Project Management teams. This support is vital to ensuring that no part of our Climate Action & Adaptation Plan goes without explicit action from our government and pushes Columbia closer to our goal of 100% GHG reduction by 2060.

The level of collaboration throughout our CAAP Teams would not be possible without the CAAP Core Team, which is made up of leads from each CAAP team as well as staff from Columbia’s Office of Sustainability. The CAAP Core Team acts as a hub for synergized climate action: members identify not only what tasks are necessary to reach our sustainability goals, but what opportunities will allow for CAAP Teams to share knowledge, strategy, and understanding in order to best create change for a greener future.

The CAAP Core team is vital to ensuring that information reaches the team members who need it most and supporting each of the teams with helpful guidance and coordination. Our strategies for climate action include all kind of measures for energy efficiency, housing and building development, natural resource protection, and more, so keeping teams synced up on projects and goals is key to achieving coordinated solutions.

It’s no surprise: all that teamwork really does make the dream work when it comes to climate action in Columbia. Throughout their hard work, our CAAP Teams have taken some serious steps when it comes to greening our community’s future. Here’s just a few of the wins we’ve seen as a direct result of our collaboration and passion-driven work:

  • Construction of a public DC fast charger station at I-70 and US Highway 63, allowing for more mobility for electric vehicles around Missouri
  • Development of a Fleet Electrification Policy that is currently being discussed and reviewed for approval by City leadership
  • Publication of Columbia’s first municipal benchmarking report, which tracks energy consumption of municipal buildings
  • Development of the Natural Capital Enhancement Plan (NCEP) that will ensure enhancement of our city’s natural resources through enhancement of stormwater management, pollinator habitats, downtown street trees, and more. The plan was presented to City leadership in late 2022

Through the continued dedication and collaboration that all of the employees in our CAAP Teams provide, Columbia is looking towards a bright future of sustainable action and adaptation for our community. 

What can YOU do?

Our CAAP Teams are hard at work implementing our Climate Action & Adaptation Plan, but they need your help! Looking for ways you can make a difference? Check out our new page highlighting resources for residents to save money on utility bills, enjoy active lifestyles, and more!