There is consensus among the world’s leading scientists that global climate change is among the most significant problems facing the world today. Florida is considered one of the most vulnerable areas to climate change, with Southeast Florida on the frontline to experience its impacts, especially rising sea levels.
Miami-Dade County has been in the forefront of these issues for many years. The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners and County departments, such as the Regulatory and Economic Resources Department and Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Department, have been implementing policies and initiatives to address climate change, environmental protection and other important sustainability issues including energy efficiency and water conservation.
The Sea Level Rise Task Force, formed in July 2013, is charged with:
- Reviewing relevant data and prior studies and reports regarding the potential impact of sea level rise on public services and facilities, real estate, water and other ecological resources, and property and infrastructure; and
- Providing a comprehensive and realistic assessment of the likely and potential impacts of sea level rise and storm surge over time.
The Miami-Dade Climate Change Advisory Task Force, established in July 2006 through the adoption of Ordinance 06-113, served as an advisory board to the Board of County Commissioners and is charged with identifying potential future climate change impacts to the County, while providing recommendations regarding mitigation and adaptation measures to respond to climate change.
By tracking greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions early on, reviewing and analyzing climate change data and information, the County has taken steps to reduce GHG emissions and avoid or reduce the severity of anticipated climate change impacts.
Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Action Plan
The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact developed the Regional Climate Action Plan (RCAP) in August 2012, following a two year collaborative process involving nearly 100 subject matter experts representing public and private sectors, universities, and not-for-profit organizations. The RCAP offers recommendations that provide the common integrated framework for a stronger and more resilient Southeast Florida, including:
- Providing the common framework for Sustainable Communities and Transportation Planning to be aligned across the region
- Recognizing the need to protect and address vulnerable Water Supply, Management and Infrastructure and preserve fragile Natural Systems and Agricultural resources
- Providing steps to move towards resilience and reducing emissions through exploring alternatives and decreasing the use of Energy and Fuel
- Building upon strength as effective emergency responders and integrating climate change hazards in Risk Reduction and Emergency Management Planning
Formed in 2009, the Compact is a partnership of Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach counties, as well as their municipalities and partners, working together in mitigating the causes and adapting to the impacts of climate change.
In December 2009, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners approved a regional climate change compact to develop joint policy positions and legislative policy statements, as well as develop a Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Action Plan. The compact released its first annual report on February 2011.
Miami-Dade County hosted the 2nd Annual Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit in October 2010. At the Summit, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability presented the Compact partners with the 2010 Sustainability Leadership Award for Process Innovation for a Large Community. In June 2011, the Compact partners were recognized for their efforts by the National Association of Counties.
National Case Studies
The White House Council on Environmental Quality – Progress Report of the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force: In October 2010, the Task Force, co-chaired by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, released its interagency report outlining recommendations to the President for how Federal Agency policies and programs can better prepare the United States to respond to the impacts of climate change. The report recommends that the Federal Government implement actions to expand and strengthen the Nation's capacity to better understand, prepare for and respond to climate change. Miami-Dade County hosted one of only five major public outreach meetings of the task force.
NOAA Digital Coast Case Study: In 2010, Miami-Dade was featured as a best practice case study -- Adapting to Sea Level Rise in Miami-Dade County, Florida -- as part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Digital Coast initiative and Inundation Toolkit. For Miami-Dade, this partnership brings technical assistance and training to support ongoing hazards and climate adaptation planning efforts.
ICLEI Climate Adaptation Program – Climate Resilient Communities: In November 2010, ICLEI launched a new national program aimed at assisting local governments to prepare for climate change. Miami-Dade County is the first local government in the nation to use ICLEI's advanced tools and resources, including a new beta-tool, to accelerate its preparedness in the face of unavoidable, local climate change impacts.
National Case Studies
Miami-Dade County is the subject of several ongoing climate change case studies.
- The White House Council on Environmental Quality – Progress Report of the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force
- NOAA Digital Coast Case Study – Adapting to Sea Level Rise in Miami-Dade County, Florida
- ICLEI Climate Adaptation Program – Climate Resilient Communities
Climate Change in Miami-Dade
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