A task force led by researchers at The Ohio State University released its final list of 43 recommended actions that can help Central Ohio prepare for climate change. The Columbus Climate Adaptation Plan will be presented to Columbus City Council and Mayor Andrew Ginther on Tuesday.
The recommendations are not aimed at preventing climate change from happening, but instead address ways Columbus must adapt to withstand extreme heat, lower air and water quality, and flooding.
“I think now we know that there’s a certain amount of warming and precipitation change we’ve been committed to, and while mitigation is still important, we are forced to adapt at this point,” says task force chair Jason Cervenec. “If we fail to do that, the default option is suffering for vulnerable populations, which is not where any community wanted to find itself.”
Among the suggestions for Central Ohio are a network of centers where people can take refuge from the heat, a modernized electric grid and more public education.
"In Central Ohio, we’re most worried about warming conditions, and that means not just warming, but also our nighttime lows not being as low, but being warmer, our winters warming more," Cervenec says.
According to a previous report, Columbus has seen average annual temperatures rise by 2.3 degrees from 1951 to 2012, higher than the global average. Meanwhile, precipitation totals have climbed by 20 percent.
In Ohio, Toledo, Dayton, Cleveland and Cincinnati have already developed climate action plans of their own.