1000 Friends of Florida

Climate Change

Photo courtesy of David Moynahan

With more than a thousand miles of coastline and low-lying topography throughout of much of the state’s coastal areas, Florida is more vulnerable than many states to the impacts of climate change and associated sea level rise.

At the same time, a study by The Brookings Institute revealed that metro Floridians emitted more greenhouse gases per person than in other major metropolitan areas across the nation.

Addressing climate change involves adapting to the impacts of climate change, including sea level rise. It also includes taking action to reduce the effects of climate change which includes changing the way we plan and develop communities.

According to a 2007 report, more than 50 percent of Florida’s greenhouse gas emissions come from electricity generation, with another 40 percent from transportation.

Because of this, 1000 Friends of Florida is working to promote more sustainable community development practices, which can play a major role in addressing the impacts of climate change in Florida and reducing Florida’s contribution to increased greenhouse gas emissions.

New Florida materials:

1000 Friends of Florida PowerPoint on Planning for sea level rise:  Legal issues facing Florida (2015).  Three of the state’s leading experts on the legal ramifications of sea level rise and climate change in Florida identify potential challenges and appropriate local government responses. Florida Sea Grant Coastal Planning Specialist Thomas Ruppert covers potential legal and financial liabilities related to permitting and infrastructure, and the benefits of notice provisions. Nova Environmental and Land Use Law Clinic Director Richard Grosso focuses on the use of legal tools available through Florida planning authority to avoid liabilities. Erin L. Deady of Erin Deady, P.A. shares strategies currently being planned and implemented in South Florida communities to address some of these issues.  View the PowerPoint with regular formatting and printer-friendly formatting.

1000 Friends of Florida PowerPoint on planning for sea level rise: Broward County responds (2014). Broward County and Fort Lauderdale are national leaders in planning for the impacts of sea level rise. This presentation covers efforts at the regional, county and municipal levels to develop planning strategies for Broward County and the City of Fort Lauderdale. Presenters include Dr. Jennifer Jurado, Director of Broward County’s Natural Resources Planning and Management Division, James Cromar of the Broward County Metropolitan Planning Organization, Julie Dennis of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, City of Fort Lauderdale Assistant City Manager Susy Torriente and Principal Environmental Strategist Jim Koeth.

1000 Friends of Florida PowerPoint on planning for sea level rise: State resources for Florida’s communities (2014). This presentation focuses on state resources available to assist communities with developing workable planning strategies to adapt to sea level rise. Presenters included Daniel Fitz-Patrick (Florida Department of Economic Opportunity), Crystal Goodison (University of Florida GeoPlan Center), Tom Beck (Florida Department of Environmental Protection) and Meredith Jagger (Florida Department of Health).

1000 Friends of Florida webinar broadcast on Florida’s coastal insurance dilemma (2014). This webinar explored existing and proposed coastal legislation and issues as related to the National Flood Insurance Program and Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. Speakers included Stronger Safer Florida Coalition members National Wildlife Federation National Advocacy Center Legislative Director Josh Saks, Florida Property Insurance Expert and former Florida Legislator Don Brown, National R Street representative Andrew Moylan, 1000 Friends of Florida President Charles Pattison, FAICP, and Florida Wildlife Federation Community Planner Sarah Owen Gledhill, AICP. The PowerPoint also is available.

Proposed Pinecrest climate change element (2014).  This includes the documents adopted by the Village of Pinecrest in December 2014 which have been submitted to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for review and comment.  It is a very large file and will take some time to download.

Miami-Dade County Resolution R-451-14 — This sets policy for Miami-Dade County directing the mayor or designee to require all county infrastructure projects to consider potential impacts of sea level rise during all project phases…and evaluate the existing infrastructure in the face of sea level rise.

Climate change economics (2015) — This National Geographic article focuses on the costs of climate change to Florida and whether adaptations will save Miami.

Spatial Planning Tools:

FDOT Sea level scenario sketch planning tool — On behalf of the Florida Department of Transportation, UF’s GeoPlan Center has developed this planning tool for preliminary assessment of vulnerable transportation infrastructure due to sea level change.

Army Corps of Engineers planning for changing sea levels — This site includes links to a simple tool and a detailed tool to help understand the impacts of changing sea levels over time.

NOAA sea level rise viewer — This site allows you to select a geography and use the slider bar to simulate various sea level rise scenarios (from one to six feet above the average highest tides) and the corresponding areas that would be impacted by flooding.

The Nature Conservancy Coastal Resilience 2.0 — This site includes a link to a mapping tool to assist with applying spatial planning innovations to coastal hazard risk, resilience and adaptation issues.

New National Materials:

Climate change may cost much more than the federal government says (2015) — This Government Executive article focuses on a new study from Stanford University that maintains that the United State is underestimating the true economic cost of carbon emissions by as much as 83%.

Fact Sheet:  Building community resilience by strengthening America’s natural resources and supporting green infrastructure (2014).  As part of the Climate Action Plan, the Obama Administration announced a Climate and Natural Resources Priority Agenda that represents a comprehensive commitment across the Federal Government to support resilience of natural resources. It identifies a suite of actions the Federal Government will take to enhance the resilience of America’s natural resources to the impacts of climate change and promote their ability to absorb carbon dioxide. The agenda, which was called for in the President’s Executive Order on Climate Preparedness, was developed jointly by Federal agencies and is informed by the President’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience and other stakeholder engagement.

The nature of cities:  Urban water fronts as ticking time bombs — Urban water fronts have typically been sites of heavy development and often are sites of pollution or exclusive access.  But they have enormous potential benefits.  This website focuses on how these benefits can be unlocked for everyone and the ecological vs. social vs. economic tradeoffs.

Encroaching Tides:  How sea level rise and tidal flooding threaten US East and Gulf Coast Communities over the next 30 years (2014) — The Union of Concerned Scientists concludes that in the next 15 years, two-thirds of the 52 coastal communities it studied could see a tripling or more in the number of high-tide floods each year.  This report identifies workable community resilience tools.

Risky Business (2014):  This study commissioned by national business leaders contends that global warming will be extremely disruptive with major economic impacts for the United States.  An article by CBS News notes, “Florida, much of which sits on porous limestone, could see as much as $23 billion worth of property literally under water by 2050, the report says. Heat will also become major issue, with the region experiencing an additional 17 to 52 days a year of temperatures reaching at least 95°F.”  See related stories about ex EPA chiefs testifying that global warming is real and Florida “is at ground zero for climate change” at dispatch.com and the Bradenton Herald.

State Resources:

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity adaptation planning page — DEO provides assistance on optional comprehensive plan designations and adaptation planning strategies for areas vulnerable to sea level rise.

Florida Department of Health building resistance against climate effects (BRACE) — DOH works to improve the ability of the public health sector to respond to health effects related to climate variability.

Florida Department of Transportation sea level scenario sketch planning tool — Developed for the Florida Department of Transportation by the University of Florida’s GeoPlan Center, this website is a planning tool for preliminary assessment of vulnerable transportation infrastructure due to climate change.

Methodology for the assessment and mitigation of sea level rise impacts on Florida’s transportation modes and infrastructure (2012) – In this project, Florida Atlantic University researchers recommended to the Florida Department of Transportation data sources and methods for forecasting sea level rise and related impacts in Florida. View the summary and final report.


Florida’s wildlife: On the front line of climate change (2008) – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission summarizes information, discussions and concerns from the 2008 Climate Change Summit.

Legal Issues:

Florida Coastal Insurance Page — 1000 Friends, a member of the Stronger Safer Coalition, has created a new web page to track coastal insurance issues and their impacts on Florida.  View the PowerPoint for the February 2014 webinar, Florida’s Coastal Insurance Dilemma.

Takings as an impediment to adaptive planning: Reasonable investment-backed expectations and Takings as an impediment to adaptive planning: Exactions – Florida Sea Grant Coastal Planning Specialist Thomas Ruppert, Esq., outlines issues local governments may face and innovative tools for adaptive planning.

Of Sea Level Rise and Superstorms:  The Public Health Police Power as a Means of Defending Against ‘Takings’ Challenges to Coastal Regulation (2013) — This Utah School of Law article argues that coastal states would gain considerable advantage in responding to constitutional regulatory takings challenges if they framed their legal measures to deal with coastal inundation as public health regulation.

Sea level rise and local government liability in FloridaDrowning in Place:  Local Government Costs and Liabilities for Flooding Due to Sea-Level Rise, is now available in The Florida Bar Journal.  Prepared by the Florida Sea Grant College Program’s Thomas Ruppert, Esq., the article focuses on Florida law related to this issue.  Click here to review this informative piece.  Ruppert has also begun an “Insurance Issues” page on the Florida Sea Grant Coastal Planning website.  It currently focuses primarily on the National Flood Insurance Program and changes via the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

Southeast Florida:

Southeast Florida regional climate change compact – This alliance between Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties and their municipalities was established in 2010 to develop joint legislative policy, a regional greenhouse gas (GHG) baseline, regionally consistent sea level rise projections, preliminary inundation mapping, a regional climate action plan, and annual leadership summits.

Southeast Florida regional climate action plan (2012) – The overall objective of this plan is to  integrate climate adaptation and mitigation into existing decision-making systems and to develop a plan that can be implemented through existing local and regional agencies, processes and organizations. For other information related to the plan, please click here.

Southeast Florida sea level rise white paper (2011) – The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact coordinated a study to determine sea level rise (SLR) projections for the southeast region of Florida.

Broward County climate change element (2013)  —  This adopted element includes goals, objectives and policies related to greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and mitigation, protection and adaption for transportation, the built environment, natural systems, and water resources and services, as well as interagency coordination, emergency preparedness and social considerations. Also see Broward County’s Climate Change Element Supporting Doc (pdf); Broward County Land Use Plan Climate Change Amendment (pdf)

Broward County climate change action plan (part I) (2010) – This plan includes recommendations to Broward County regarding a countywide climate program designed to mitigate the causes and adapt to the consequences of climate change, and to advise on the program’s implementation. Part II  includes a series of appendices.

Fort Lauderdale Resources — www.fortlauderdale.gov/visionwww.fortlauderdale.gov/pressplay

Monroe County Climate Action Plan (2013) — This plan is the result of a two-year collaborative effort by the Monroe County Climate Change Advisory Committee, which was charged with developing climate-related recommendations for the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners.

Sea level rise in the Treasure Coast Region (2005) –  This report includes maps of the Treasure Coast Region that distinguish the shores likely to be protected from erosion inundation, and flooding, from those areas where natural shoreline retreat is likely to take place.

Photo courtesy of FEMA. Damage after Hurricane Charley.

Southwest Florida:

Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council page — The Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council (SWFRPC) has a two-decade history of addressing climate issues, beginning with its ground-breaking disaster and severe storm preparedness planning. Economic, social, community health, infrastructure and environmental issues have been addressed in the context of storm surge, wind speeds, and infrastructure resilience.

Climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation opportunities for salt marsh types in southwest Florida (2012) – Prepared by the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, this Power Point addresses coastal salt marshes in Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee Counties.

Smart Charlotte 2050 comprehensive plan (2011) – FLU Policy 1.15 includes strategies for sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint.

Charlotte Harbor regional climate change vulnerability assessment (2010) – This report crystallizes the southwest Florida climate change vulnerability and was prepared by the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program.

Lee County climate change vulnerability assessment (2010)  – This study examines the current climate and ongoing climate change in southwest Florida along with five future scenarios of climate change into the year 2100.

City of Punta Gorda adaptation plan (2009) – Due to its natural setting and extensive infrastructure investment in areas closest to the coast, the City of Punta Gorda will soon be suffering the negative effects of a changing climate.  This plan outlines 246 climate change management adaptations that the City of Punta Gorda can take to address these effects.

Central Florida studies:

Alachua County energy element (2011) – The goal of this element is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel consumption; mitigate the effects of rising energy costs; and promote the long-term economic security of Alachua County through energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy production.

Municipal adaptation to sea-level rise: City of Satellite Beach (2010) – This project was designed to assess municipal vulnerability to rising sea level and initiate the planning process to properly mitigate impacts.

Other Florida-specific resources:

Global Climate Change and Florida (2014) — Listen to this piece by WGCU/NPR in response to the National Climate Assessment’s third Climate Change Impacts in the United States report.

Adaptation planning in Florida – The Florida Division of Community Development prepared this brief overview of “Adaptation Action Area” which is an optional comprehensive plan designation for areas that experience coastal flooding and are vulnerable to the related impacts of sea level rise.

Implementing “adaptation action area” policies in Florida – This Florida Division of Community Development overview provides more information on Adaptation Action Areas approved under Florida’s 2011 Community Planning Act.

Community resiliency in Florida – The Division of Community Development site has links to information about post-disaster redevelopment planning, hazard mitigation planning, waterfronts Florida, coastal high-hazard areas, and adaptation planning.

Florida Governor’s Action Team on energy and climate change final report (2008) – This site includes links to the complete report prepared by the Florida Action Tem on Energy and Climate Change for Gov. Charlie Crist.  It includes 50 policy recommendations and additional guidance recommendations to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.  1000 Friends President Charles Pattison was honored to serve on the Action Team.

Climate change and land use in Florida: Interdependencies and opportunities (2007) – This report prepared for the Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida identifies specific land use practices that can be utilized to assist Florida in skillfully responding to anticipated changes in climate.

Sea level change in the Southeastern United States (2011) – This University of Florida report provides a basic explanation of the existence and physics of sea level variations.

Climate change and sea level rise in Florida (2010) – The Florida Oceans and Coastal Council prepared this report to provide a foundation for discussions of the effects of sea-level rise on Florida’s ocean and coastal resources, and to inform Floridians about the current state of scientific knowledge regarding sea-level rise and how it is likely to affect Florida.

Climate change health threats in Florida – On this site, the Natural Resources Defense Council outlines health threats to Floridians from climate change, and has an interactive Florida map that shows vulnerability to each threat at the county level.

The effects of climate change on Florida’s ocean and coastal resources (2009) – This special report to the Florida Energy and Climate Commission and the people of Florida was prepared by the Florida Oceans and Coastal Council.

Economic impacts of climate change on Florida: Estimates from two studies (2008) – This document focuses on possible economic costs for the state of Florida associated with climate change projections.

Florida climate change: The costs of inaction (2007) – This Tufts University report examines the potential costs to Florida if greenhouse gas emissions continue unchecked, including loss of tourism revenue, increased hurricane damages, at-risk residential real estate, and increased electricity costs.

Feeling the heat in Florida (2001) – Prepared by the NRDC, this report outlines a synthesis of current (2001) scientific knowledge about the anticipated effects of global warming on Florida.

National studies:

Shrinking the carbon footprint of metropolitan America (2008) – The Brookings Institute study revealed that metro Floridians emitted more greenhouses gases per person than typical residents of other cities in the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas.

Growing cooler: The evidence on urban development and climate change (2007) – The Urban Land Institute warns that if sprawling development continues to fuel growth in driving, the projected 59 percent national increase in the total miles driven between 2005 and 2030 will overwhelm expected gains from vehicle efficiency and low-carbon fuels.

Sea level rise adaptation options for local governments (PowerPoint)

Sea-level change considerations for civil works programs (2011) – Prepared by the Army Corps of Engineers, this brief provides updated and expanded policies and guidance based on findings after Hurricane Katrina.

Adaptation tool kit: Sea level rise and coastal land use (2011)

Florida Links:

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