Through the establishment of the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, Broward, Miami Dade, Monroe, and Palm Beach counties committed to collaborate on strategies to reduce the region’s emissions, including the development of an emissions baseline for Southeast Florida. A regional greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) inventory is integral to developing informed climate change mitigation strategies and monitoring the region’s progress over time.
The Compact’s regional greenhouse gas inventory provides a summary of overall emissions trends from across the four counties. The inventory was conducted as a retrospective of 10 years of community-wide emissions, from 2005 to 2015. The inventory scope was limited to systems at the regional scale, including transportation (on-road transportation, passenger rail, freight rail) and stationary energy from residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. The inventory does not include emissions from wastewater or solid waste. All emissions are either produced from sources located within the regional boundary (Scope 1) or as a result of grid-supplied electricity, heat, or steam consumed within the region (Scope 2).
GHG EMISSIONS BY SECTOR
Within this scope, the regional inventory shows that, on average, transportation accounts for 48% of emissions. The built environment accounts for over half of regional emissions (52%), with 26% of emissions resulting from residential energy consumption and 24% from commercial energy consumption. Industrial energy accounts for a small proportion of regional emissions (1%). Within the transportation sector, on-road transportation (vehicle miles traveled) accounts for the vast majority of emissions.
EMISSIONS BY SECTOR
Overall emissions in these sectors (transportation and stationary energy) decreased between 2005 and 2015 by approximately 10%. While the region’s population has grown 10% over this 10 year period, per capita emissions decreased by 18%, from 9.69 metric tons CO2e per person in 2005 to 7.92 metric tons CO2e per person in 2015. Most of the decrease in overall emissions (84% of reductions) resulted from decreased emissions in stationary energy (residential, commercial, and industrial sectors).
REGIONAL PER CAPITA EMISSIONS
Carbon intensity is a measure of how much carbon is emitted for every dollar of gross domestic product produced. Southeast Florida has reduced the GHG emissions required to produce a unit of economic output over this decade. In 2005, $1 million in gross regional product generated 233.7 tons of carbon. In 2015, the same economic output generated 167.5 tons of carbon. This represents a 28.3% decline in emission intensity over 10 years represented by this inventory.
The regional inventory covers a different scope than county and city level inventories, therefore this emissions data may differ from other inventories published in the region. For more detailed accounting of emissions associated with individual counties and cities, please refer to county and city inventory reports.
Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Strategies
The Compact’s Regional Climate Action Plan 2.0 sets out a comprehensive and ambitious set of recommendations for climate mitigation strategies at the local, regional and state levels. Emissions must be reduced through numerous synergistic energy, transportation, and green infrastructure interventions.
With more than half of regional emissions resulting from energy consumed by residential, commercial, and industrial sectors, strategies to reduce and conserve energy within the built environment are critical. Likewise, the region must diversify its energy mix and aggressively transition toward low- to zero-emissions energy generation. During this GHG inventory period, electricity generation diversified only slightly to include greater amounts of low- and zero-emission sources, such as solar. In 2005, 19.2% of energy generated by Florida Power & Light (FPL) was from nuclear power. As of 2017, 23.2% of energy was generated from nuclear power and 1% by solar power. These numbers are expected to grow by 2027 to 24.2% and 14.9%, respectively, according to FPL’s 10 year site plan. Emission reductions possible from electrification of vehicles will be predicated on the increasing percentage of renewable energy within our energy mix. Finally, integrated water management strategies to reduce consumption, increase efficiencies, and reuse water and wastewater plays a significant role in limiting energy consumption associated with water treatment and distribution. The South Florida Water Management District’s Comprehensive Water Conservation Plan has decreased water consumption from approximately 180 gallons of water per person per day in 2000 to about 140 gallons in 2014. That said, both population and water use are expected to grow by 2025 across the Southeast Florida region (more than 10% and 22%, respectively), requiring increasingly ambitious strategies to reduce water demand and increase efficiencies in order to limit emissions associated with water use.
The transportation sector, and on-road vehicles in particular, are still predominantly powered by fossil-fuel based petroleum gasoline or diesel. Reducing emissions from the transportation sector will require the region to reshape how we move from place to place and where and how we build, encouraging compact, infill development. It is integral to develop and implement strategies that reduce vehicle miles traveled through the expansion of public transit, transit-oriented development, and complete streets. While electric vehicles are projected to represent more than 50% of vehicle sales in 2050, we must ready our region by expanding charging infrastructure, as well as developing low-carbon energy sources within our energy portfolio to maximize the emission reduction benefit of vehicle electrification.
Through management and conservation programs designed to protect and restore natural systems—from urban tree canopy, to coastal mangrove habitats, and the greater Everglades system—we can retain and expand one of the critical services provided by nature: carbon sequestration. Moreover, by retrofitting the built environment with green infrastructure solutions, additional co-benefits can be harnessed like stormwater retention, filtration, and cooling within our urbanized area.