DATE: February 20, 2013
MEDIA CONTACT: Dr. Jennifer Jurado, Director
Broward County Natural Resources Planning and Management Division
On February 12, 2013, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners took a progressive step forward in planning for community resilience and the long-term sustainability of Broward’s environment and economy with adoption of a Climate Change Element (Element) as part of the County’s Comprehensive Plan.
The Element outlines strategies to mitigate the causes and addresses the local implications of impacts the County is already experiencing related to extreme weather and sea level rise. This action comes at a time when President Barack Obama is calling for congressional action on energy efficiency and renewable/alternative energy. This local planning action coincides with increasing national attention on reducing risks associated with extreme weather, planning for sea level rise and investing in community infrastructure.
Mayor Kristin Jacobs noted that “The development of this element has been a two-year effort to address climate mitigation and adaptation in our planning documents. Broward continues to provide leadership in taking steps to recognize the consequences of climate change in our community and to adopt policies to reduce risk and enhance our resilience to sea level rise.”
Updates to the County Land Use Plan, which considers public and private property vulnerability to sea level rise and impacts to public infrastructure, were also adopted.
Broward County recognizes the widespread international scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and that greenhouse gas emissions, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels, are a significant contributing cause. There is also a growing appreciation that southeast Florida is extremely vulnerable to sea level rise.
Because of these global and local realities, Broward County has made it a priority to reduce carbon emissions, identify and address vulnerabilities, consider these hazards prior to making infrastructure investments and prepare residents, businesses and natural resources for a changing environment.
The countywide strategy is consistent with regional planning efforts like Seven 50 and the South East Florida Regional Climate Change Compact. In addition, the Element provides a planning framework for local governments who want to incorporate the economic, environmental and social planning decisions into their own comprehensive plans that contemplate and prepare our community for changes in the physical environment.
The adoption of the Element moves Broward County one step closer to building a more sustainable, resource efficient and climate resilient community.