Climate change, and the science of resilience and adaptation, are incredibly complex. The Compact has compiled the key resources and experts to help journalists tell what can be a very difficult story to convey to general audiences.
While there is growing awareness of the threat that sea level rise and climate change presents, the Compact has been actively working on the problem since 2009, and is hailed internationally as one of the best bi-partisan approaches to climate change in existence.
This fact sheet, regularly updated by the Compact, explains what the Compact is, how and why the Compact was formed as well as what the Compact is doing about sea level rise in Southeast Florida.
Released in late 2015, this projection is used by local, county, state and increasingly federal groups working to prepare and protect Southeast Florida. Understanding the projection is critical to telling the story of Southeast Florida and sea level rise.
The Regional Climate Action Plan is a five-year roadmap for counties, cities and towns in Southeast Florida to: reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for rising seas in Southeast Florida.
The 110 recommendations range from planting trees to implementing green infrastructure improvements to adopting new ordinances.
Director and Chief Resiliency Officer
Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division
Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department
Palm Beach County
Climate Change & Sustainability Coordinator
Palm Beach County – Board of County Commissioners
Chief Resilience Officer
Regulatory and Economic Resources Department
Nichole L. Hefty
Sustainability Chief, Office of Resilience
Miami-Dade Dept. of Regulatory and Economic Resources
Sr. Administrator / Environmental Resources
Monroe County Planning & Environmental Resources
What is the Compact?
The Compact is an agreement adopted by the Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Palm Beach County Commissions in January 2010. As the counties recognized the vulnerability of the Southeast Florida region to the impacts of climate, they resolved to work collaboratively on mitigation and adaptation strategies across county lines.
The Compact represents a new form of regional climate governance designed to allow local governments to set the agenda for adaptation, while providing an efficient means for state and federal agencies to engage with technical assistance and support. The Compact has collaborated on activities such as joint policies to influence climate/energy legislation and funding at state and federal levels, developing and implementing a Regional Climate Action Plan, and hosting annual summits to review progress and discuss strategies.
How did the Compact start?
Representatives of the four County Commissions (Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Palm Beach) came together at the 2009 Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit hosted by Broward County. The representatives discussed regional challenges and threats from global climate change on the over 6 million residents of this region, and a call to action for regionalized efforts was issued in the form of the Compact.
Is there a unique threat of rising seas in Miami?
Sea levels are rising all over the world, threatening low-lying coastal cities, such as those present in Florida. These areas will continue to see the effects of the relatively slow process of sea level rise. In 2010, roughly 100 million people lived in U.S. coastal shoreline counties, with assets, people, economies and water supplies vulnerable to sea level rise. That’s why local governments are continuously working to find solutions to reduce flooding issues and other impacts of climate change.
How does sea level rise shape Southeast Florida’s property market?
Southeast Florida’s property market continues to be one of the strongest in the U.S.. Each and every day, local governments in South Florida are joining forces to plan and invest in adaptive infrastructure to manage the threats of gradual sea level rise. Those same people working to keep the area safe and enjoyable for millions, continue to live in their own homes. The current efforts put forth to manage the unavoidable threats of climate change in Southeast Florida will help maintain the best of life in the area, and prepare for future growth.
How do topics such as climate change and sea level rise play into elections?
Sustainable communities require a long-term perspective – one that’s focused on both the present and future, well beyond the next budget or election cycle. It’s essential that elected officials have the same thought-process and work to build and implement plans around climate action that will be carried through the long-term.
How does the Compact help make a difference today?
The Compact is working in uncharted territory with a significant learning curve, yet it is making incredible steps towards engaging local government on a climate action plan. Adaptation projects are all around us, helping manage the unavoidable. For example, in Miami Beach, entire streets have been redesigned to better adapt to rising sea levels. In Delray Beach, there are duckbill valves which help manage flood waters. In Fort Lauderdale, the sea wall height requirements have been increased.
What does the future in Southeast Florida look like?
Southeast Florida has a tremendous opportunity to become the “Silicon Valley” of sea level rise with innovative adaptation, academic think-tanks, and best practice examples to share with cities facing the same challenges. The Compact is dedicated to being a leader in this space, to help shape a livable home for the area’s future generations.
“Five years ago, local leaders down here, Republicans and Democrats, formed the bipartisan Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact — an agreement to work together to fight climate change. And it’s become a model not just for the country, but for the world. ” – President Barack Obama