2021 Climate Leadership Summit Offers Insights into 2022 Developments and Trends

Bilzin Sumberg Publication
January 6, 2022
The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact’s 13th Annual Climate Leadership Summit took place on December 9 and 10, 2021. The virtual event, entitled Seizing The Moment, Together, was focused on expanding the region’s capacity to respond to climate challenges and build climate resilience. The summit offered some important takeaways for the South Florida business community and gave a glimpse of the climate resilience trends that could dominate 2022:

The federal government is focused on climate resilience in Florida: Brenda Mallory, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (“CEQ”), represented the Biden Administration at the summit. Chair Mallory underscored that the Biden Administration and the CEQ are committed to convening stakeholders to advance efficient permitting approaches; identifying and supporting innovative solutions to climate-related challenges; and ensuring that equity is prioritized throughout these processes. She stressed to attendees that the “whole of government” is being mobilized to support efforts aimed at protecting and preserving the great state of Florida. 

Miami-Dade County is taking action to operationalize its Climate Action Strategy: Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava updated attendees on Miami-Dade’s efforts to track the Strategy’s goals progress through greenhouse gas inventories. Conducted every two years, related metrics and a summary of investments will be provided through the budget process. Mayor Levine Cava also shared details of the County’s recent hiring of the world’s first Chief Heat Officer to advise on mitigation and resiliency measures related specifically to rising temperatures. Citing an example of potential heat mitigation measures, Miami-Dade County is exploring opportunities to develop “climate resilience hubs,” physical spaces that community members can visit to cool off while simultaneously accessing county resources and energy saving tools. Expect increased investment and stakeholder consultations in 2022 from Miami-Dade County on resiliency measures.

Multiple federal agencies are pursuing innovative mitigation and resiliency measures in Florida: Daniel Blackman, EPA Regional Administrator for six states, including Florida, shared how AgSTAR—a collaboration with the USDA—promotes the use of biogas recovery systems to reduce methane emissions from livestock waste. Regional Administrator Blackman also offered guidance on how the EPA can support projects that address flooding, droughts, and sea-level rise. Separately, a panel of cross-sector leaders shared how they are leveraging FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Community (BRIC) program to fund infrastructure priorities. In addition, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District shared how the agencies are collaborating to ensure our region’s water management system is resilient and responsive to the needs of all communities.  Expect increased investment from federal agencies, cross-agency cooperation, and heightened federal, state, and local partnership activities in 2022 across Florida.

Bilzin Sumberg’s Resilience and Sustainability Team will continue to monitor local and regional developments related to climate change and how they affect the business community.
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