Don’t Mourn Miami Just Yet: Local actions to fight climate change in the Miami-Dade area set an example for the world.

November 13, 2015

From CityLab (see full article here).

But for all the bad news, looking at what the Miami area is doing in response to climate change should be enough to wrest you from retreating into a solastalgic haze. In spite of a denialist governor, South Florida has made acting on climate change a truly bipartisan issue. Along with Broward, Palm Beach, and Monroe Counties, Miami-Dade County is “part of a landmark 2009 compact that acknowledged the reality of climate change—a major achievement on a politically divisive issue,” according to the Miami Herald.

That’s helped local governments on their toes: The city of Miami Beach is leading the rest of the state in its actions to keep its economy from drowning, with a $400-million-plus project to raise roads and install seawater pumps along thoroughfares. Efforts to increase transit options and walkability in Miami have been substantial enough to land the city fourth on Smart Growth America’s future most walkable cities list. Business leaders are coming together to influence government. None of this will not stop climate change, or preserve Miami in amber. But they are serious actions to lessen the physical—and psychological—impact of climate change. Miami is not retreating yet.

Here is why this is so important: In aggregate, local actions like these could help make up the difference between where the world needs to be and what our world leaders are willing to commit to in Paris. This isn’t just bright-eyed over-optimism: The UN Environmental Program, too, has recognized and documented the effects that carbon-reducing efforts by local governments and businesses can create. “Non-state actors” are likely to feature more prominently at the Paris talks than in the past.