Denying climate change will impact Florida’s future may be a strategy, but it has not proven to be an effective one. With 75 percent of our population living in counties lining the coast, Florida must prepare for the increasingly severe weather and sea-level rise caused by climate change. Leadership in Tallahassee must guide state-wide coordinated efforts by setting policy to increase the resiliency of our communities and significantly reduce greenhouse emissions.

Increasing the resiliency of our communities means hardening waste water treatment plants, power plants and other facilities against impacts from sea-level rise and windstorms. Funding is needed to insure low-income communities have the resources to implement resilience strategies. Unbiased research of future impacts to natural areas, Florida’s economy, and communities must be undertaken to serve as a foundation for planning.

These planning strategies can also be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making growth management choices that reduce automobile dependency, by incentivizing walkable communities and by green building practices for residences, businesses and industry.  Economic strategies offer another way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by instituting a renewable portfolio standard that specifies a minimum required percentage of renewable energy and investing in solar and wind energy to achieve it. Requiring the social cost of carbon to be included in energy policy decisions will also encourage renewable energy supply.

Administrative changes can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by promoting use of electric vehicles (EV) by cities, counties and businesses. Facilitating EV charging station investments at multi-family properties and ensuring EV owners can responsibly install and use charging equipment will increase adoption. Prohibiting fracking in Florida in all its forms and new extraction of fossil fuels will keep the carbon in the ground and out of the atmosphere.

You can influence planning for climate change by voting on November 6th for Governor, the cabinet and House District 120. Read the candidate’s positions and question them at local events. Make sure they share your priority to reduce the impacts of climate change by increasing resiliency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to preserve Florida’s environment and economy.