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Ohio State Task Force Drafts Plan For Columbus To Fight Climate Change

Aerial view of The Oval on Ohio State University's campus
Ohio State University

Researchers from The Ohio State University’s Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center formed a task force to draft an action plan for Central Ohio’s handling of climate change. 

The report, which is the result of a two-year collaboration effort with the City of Columbus, outlines necessary and aspirational steps for the city to tackle climate change.

According to the document, the task force believes the biggest threats facing Columbus in regards to climate change are increasing temperatures, increasing variability in precipitation and the potential impacts on vulnerable populations. 

Task force chair Jason Cervenec says essential steps include ways the city can respond to weather-related emergency.

“Things like preparing cooling centers for the summer when you have extreme heat," Cervenec says. "Extreme heat is still one of the number-one killers associated with weather phenomena. Making sure you have protocols in place for that.”

Residents can review and comment on the report through March 9.

“We broke it down into eight different chapters,” Cervenec says. “And that includes impacts on water resources, flooding risks, but also vulnerable populations and emergency preparedness.”

The eight chapters cover extreme heat, air quality and energy, flooding, water quality, water use, ecosystems, emergency preparedness and vulnerable populations.

“For resiliency planning and infrastructure, flooding, fresh water resources, things that the government, the city, private business should take when you build a building that’s for 40 years, you should take into effect the climate in the future so you can build something that’s resilient 40 years out," he says.

The task force expects to present a finalized document to the Columbus City Council and Mayor Andrew Ginther in May.

Earlier this month, Ohio State joined a coalition of 13 North American universities that will set timelines for achieving carbon-neutral campuses and dedicate research resources to reducing emissions in their communities.