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Miami-Dade County Continues to Advance Climate Action Strategy in 2022

Howard E. Nelson, John V. Chibbaro & David Jessup, Jr.

Aerial photo of condo buildings in BrickellOn April 22, 2021, Miami-Dade County released a draft Climate Action Strategy for public comment. The full draft of the report can be found here.

In December 2021, Miami-Dade County released the final version of its Climate Action Strategy. The final plan hopes to improve climate resiliency and decrease emissions by 50% by 2030 by focusing on three key areas: Energy and Buildings, Land Use and Transportation, and Water and Waste. The plan also touches on broader implementation strategies, like conducting community outreach and expanding the green economy. Bilzin Sumberg previously covered the history of the draft plan, and this post serves as an update to describe the current projects and initiatives put in place as a result of the finalized Climate Action Strategy

As part of the Energy and Buildings initiative, the County hosted the Building Blocks Housing Summit this June, which “convened hundreds of participants interested in addressing the housing affordability crisis currently affecting county residents.” At the Summit, Chief Heat Officer Jane Gilbert and Chief Resilience Officer James Murley discussed increasing the supply of affordable housing, leveraging funds for housing projects and resiliency, building of resilient housing, and reaching net-zero emissions.  

The Land Use and Transportation initiative is expected to have the “largest single impact on community-wide emissions in Miami-Dade County” and, according to the County, will involve multiple strategies, one of which includes the all-new South Corridor Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project. Miami-Dade County’s Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW) broke ground for this project in June of 2021, and once completed the BRT project will provide 20 miles of exclusive transit right-of-way parallel to US-1 with signal preemption, offering an easy 60-minute ride on all-electric buses from Homestead to Downtown Miami. This project is predicted to reduce emissions and will serve as an example for potential future transit projects.

The last initiative deals with reducing water waste and increasing water management efficiency. To this end, the County implemented the Water Use Efficiency Plan. The plan has already reduced daily water use by 14 million gallons per day, and, in addition to conserving water, has lowered energy and infrastructure costs and reduced customer bills. The Water Use Efficiency Plan also provides rebates to residents and businesses for high efficiency toilets, faucets, and shower heads.

These plans by the County are initial steps in a long journey of climate action. As the County points out, climate resiliency will require the adoption and execution of programs today and their consistent application in the coming years. This makes current and future implementation of the plan vital to its success. In order to implement the plan, the County plans to identify and track strategic actions in the annual County Budget and looks to engage with local groups and government entities such as Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the Resilient305 PIVOT team, and the Beacon Council. Additionally, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava has created a Resilience Action Team and a Resilience Council to support the implementation of the plan. 

With these measures in place, Miami-Dade County will ensure that the citizens, cities, and infrastructure of South Florida will be prepared as the impacts of climate change are increasingly felt in the Sunshine State. 

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