From Broward County

In recognition of her leadership in preparing South Florida for the impacts of climate change, Broward County Mayor Kristin Jacobs was selected today as a member of President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. The task force will advise the Administration on how the Federal Government can respond to the needs of communities nationwide that are dealing with extreme weather and other climate impacts.

The impacts of climate change—including an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, an increase in wildfires, more severe droughts, permafrost thawing, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise—are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, and economies across the country. These impacts are often most significant for communities that already face economic or health-related challenges, and for species and habitats that are already facing other pressures. Consistent with the local nature of these impacts, many important climate preparedness and resilience decisions and actions are undertaken at the local level.

“I am honored to have been chosen by President Obama to work on such an important issue as climate change. South Florida is particularly effected by climate change issues and we have often been analogized as a canary in the coal mine for climate related issues. Based on our experiences in South Florida I know we can help contribute to the President’s Climate Action Plan and I look forward to serving on the task force.” Said Mayor Jacobs.

President Obama established the Task Force today as part of his Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution, prepare communities for the impacts of climate change that cannot be avoided, and lead international efforts to address this global challenge. The Task Force is charged with developing recommendations on how the Federal government can better support local preparedness and resilience-building efforts. It will provide recommendations on removing barriers to resilient investments, modernizing grant and loan programs to better support local efforts, and developing information and tools to better serve communities. Mayor Jacobs will use her first-hand experience in addressing local climate impacts to inform the Task Force’s recommendations to the President and ensure they are responsive to the needs of places like Broward County.

Across America, states, cities, and communities like Broward County are planning, innovating, and preparing for the impacts of climate change and taking steps to protect themselves from extreme weather. Broward County is already contending with more extreme rainfall and local events, regular flooding of coastal areas during high tides, severe beach erosion, and threats to the drinking water supply from saltwater contamination of coastal well fields. Infrastructure is also under increasing threat from climate-related impacts, as the partial collapse of State Road A1A in Fort Lauderdale last year demonstrated. 

Mayor Jacobs has taken action to protect South Florida from these and other climate impacts. She led the effort to create the Broward County Climate Change Task Force and has served as its chair since inception in 2008. The following year, she convened the first Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit with county commissioners from Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties, which led to the creation of the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact in 2010, the nation’s most successful example of effective regional cooperation to reduce carbon pollution, adapt to climate impacts, and build resilient communities. 

The Federal Government can support local resilience efforts by promoting investments that bolster preparedness, strengthening critical infrastructure and public resources, supporting science and research on local climate impacts, and ensuring that Federal operations and facilities continue to protect and serve Americans in a changing climate.

 

The State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience will develop recommendations for the President on how the Federal Government can best support state, local and tribal leaders in their efforts to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

The Task Force will meet in person four times between December 2013 and July 2014. The first meeting will take place at the White House in early December. The task force will deliver its recommendations to the President within one year. 

More information on the Task Force on Climate Preparedness is available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/resilience/taskforce