CAAP 2020 Annual Report

On February 1, 2021, the first Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) annual report was presented to the Columbia City Council at their work session. The report provides an update on our progress toward meeting the goals of the CAAP, as an organization and as a community. The annual report also outlines upcoming priority issues and areas of focus. The full annual report can be found here. For primary metrics being tracked, click here.

CAAP Action Implementation Table

Implementing the CAAP requires motivating staff, finding funding for strategies, involving community members to make key changes and sustaining momentum. Columbia has already taken steps to improve community sustainability. The implementation of the CAAP strategies is a priority for Columbia. The table below provides all of the CAAP strategies in a format to allow for ease of tracking progress on implementation.

Developing the CAAP

In 2017, the City of Columbia launched the development of its first Climate Action & Adaptation Plan (CAAP). The Plan is the product of over a year-long public and stakeholder engagement process that included three community workshops, online public surveys, presentations at board and commission meetings, engagement at community events, collaboration with concurrent planning efforts and close collaboration with an internal municipal team and the Mayor’s Task Force on Climate Action & Adaptation Planning. The CAAP will live on this site and this page provides more details on how the Plan was developed. You may also download a copy of the Council-Approved Plan for reading offline.

Climate Action and Adaptation Plan

Why is the CAAP Important?

The effects of increased global greenhouse gas emissions threaten Columbia’s resources and quality of life. Extreme heat, drought, higher incidence of extreme severe storms, and reduced air quality are growing threats in Columbia due to climate change. By taking action now to reduce our community’s contribution to worldwide emissions and prepare for climate risks, the City of Columbia can better protect the well-being of its residents for decades to come.

Climate Action and Adaptation Plan

About the Planning Process

The plan was written for the community and by the community. Significant contributors included the public, the Mayor’s Task Force on Climate Action & Adaptation Planning (Task Force), and City staff. In development since 2017 and consisting of multiple community and City of Columbia Staff workshops, Task Force meetings, and public surveys, this plan focuses on effective actions. These actions achieve the greatest emission reductions and increase our community preparedness in the most cost-effective and equitable manner. The entire community—businesses, residents, and municipal government—all have a role in both implementing the plan and enjoying its benefits.

Climate Action and Adaptation Plan

Community Voices in the CAAP

Over 300 community members attended 2 public workshops during Plan development. From those, and the over 1,900 responses to online community surveys, the following responses were captured:
        -Strong community support for immediate action to reduce GHG emissions from energy and land use and to prepare for a changing climate
        -Strong agreement that Columbia should be a leader when it comes to proactively addressing climate change
        -Support for adoption of the CAAP, and belief that the Plan effectively provides direction to City government and staff on actions to address climate change

Climate Action & Adaptation Plan

Key Sectors

The CAAP identified goals, strategies, and actions in six key sectors: Energy; Natural Resources; Transportation; Waste; Housing, Buildings and Development; and Health, Safety and Well-Being.

Sustainability Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

The graphs below describe recent trends and current targets for some of the important performance metrics the City of Columbia is using to monitor and communicate our progress toward emissions reduction and community resilience goals. The color indicates whether the data trend is on track (green), needs more work (yellow), or off track (red) to meet the 2035 and 2050 targets indicated. The dotted line shows the trend of the data points from the KPIs baseline year to the most recent data collected. This is the value called out in the center of the chart.


Building Energy Greenhouse Gas emissions

Building GHG emissions are strongly influenced by the amount of electricity provided from low and no carbon resources and weather with hotter summers and colder winters increasing emissions from energy use in buildings. Federal appliance standards, building energy codes, customer behavior and utility programs also contribute to reductions in these emissions.


% Change in Municipal portfolio Energy use

The City of Columbia is currently tracking the energy use intensity of a subset of its occupied facilities. The CAAP has a goal of 20% building energy reduction between 2019 and 2024. The Good Stewards CAAP team has been reviewing building energy disclosure policies from our regional partner cities - St. Louis & Kansas City - for applicability in Columbia. Before proposing anything community-wide, City facilities will serve as a pilot by benchmarking and communicating energy performance.


Municipal Fleet Emissions

Municipal transportation emissions include fleet and transit vehicles; airport ground equipment and employee commute. An Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) vendor was chosen in 2020 and we expect 50% of the fleet to actively participate in 2021. The AVL live GPS-tracking system will help us manage the fleet more efficiently, from fuel use to measuring and reducing idling time.


Community on-site Solar Capacity

This accounts for the customer-owned PV systems on Columbia W&L’s distribution system and does not include utility owned PV arrays or PV systems from which W&L purchases electricity. Customer owned solar can play an important part in reducing energy emissions and increasing resilience to power outages, when solar is paired with energy storage.


Per-capita water consumption

Per-capita water consumption (gallons/resident). Like building energy use, water usage is strongly influenced by weather, specifically summer temperatures and rainfall amounts. The lower per capita usage in 2017 & 2019 corresponds with cooler summer temperatures and higher usage in 2018 with higher relative summer temperatures.


Renewable Electricity

The trend for W&L’s portfolio of renewable electricity is increasing. If this trend continues, the goal of 100% renewable electricity should be achieved. The renewable portfolio has been driven by ordinance goals of 30% by 2029. In order to support longer term and more ambitious goals, the utility has included the CAAP RE goals in long range planning process. Energy-related emissions from electricity and natural gas used in homes, businesses and industry account for 70% of Columbia's total GHG emissions. Adopting clean energy is by far the most impactful modeled CAAP strategy. In 2021, CWL will be providing a plan for how to meet their renewable energy goals.


City Recycling Rate

This recycling rate is calculated using the amount of recyclable materials collected from City customers only and is intended to be used as a measure of recycling program use. The Solid Waste Utility is transitioning to a pay-as-you-throw rate structure. The expected outcome of the rate adjustment will be a decrease in waste generated, an increase in recycling participation, and an incentive for the reuse/repurposing of large household items.


Residential energy use

Energy use per household is trending flat. While we are seeing reductions in energy-related emissions, the trend for energy used in our residential sector has remained flat. The 2035 and 2050 targets do not include the influence of electrification of space and water heating or transportation. These will be accounted for once more specifics can be derived. Raising awareness over the nationally recognized Home Energy Score, and Efficiency Score, identified as a key next step for achieving progress on residential energy efficiency.


Cumulative residential; kWh reduction from efficiency programs

Based on data from the USD’s demand side management programs. The pace of additional reductions in the residential sector is not projected to meet the 2035 and 2050 targets for reduction in residential electricity use. These targets were derived from modelling done during the development of the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.