Florida’s Action Team on Energy and Climate Change unveils full plan to halt warming
The full report from Florida’s Action Team on Energy and Climate Change that we mentioned yesterday is now available. Its release was celebrated today by both business and environmental leaders in the state.
The 608-page report outlines 50 specific policy recommendations that the state should enact in order to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If all of these actions are taken, the state could reduce emissions 64 percent and save $28 billion by 2025, according to the Action Team’s report. The recommendations include diversifying the state’s energy supply (adding solar, wind, nuclear, and cogeneration sources), reducing energy demand (through efficiency), implementing a cap-and-trade system, and taking measures to reduce emissions in the transportation, land use, agriculture, forestry, and waste management sectors. It also outlines adaptation strategies to address the effects of climate change that are already underway.
This morning, the state Department of Environmental Protection hosted a conference call with several of Action Team members, highlighting how their plan will benefit the state. Armando Olivera, president and CEO of Florida Power & Light and a member of the action team, highlighted the economic benefits this will have for state industries.
“From the business perspective, we’re setting the stage for Florida to take a leadership role, creating energy policies that really create incentives and market mechanisms to lead the way in the development of clean and renewable technologies,” said Olivera. “As with any technologies, the first movers have an advantage. The recommendations of the Action Team will really help create an environment for new, clean technologies to be developed and to grow.”
He also noted the economic benefits for businesses that are already in the state, including savings through efficiency, reducing the cost of reliance on fossil fuels, and generally improving the stability of the state’s economy. And by putting a price on carbon now, businesses can better plan for the future, he added.
“Over time it gives businesses a very predictable cost signal,” said Olivera. “Right now we’re not factoring in any cost for carbon … and there is a cost with that.”
Debbie Harrison, Director of the Florida Program of the World Wildlife Fund, pointed to the need to act in order to protect the state’s coastline, and thus, the tourism industry.
“Clearly, Florida has much to lose if the recommendations of this team are not implemented. Florida being a peninsular state, with 1,200 miles of coastline, it’s experiencing already rising sea levels, warming ocean temperatures. We have already lost 30 percent of the coral reefs in Florida due to global warming and we’re continuing to see sea levels rise — as much as 9 inches in less than a century in Key West.”
The team members pointed out that their final report far exceeds the emissions that the governor first called for in creating the team via executive order in July 2007. And, as the executive summary points out, they’d be a net gain for the state’s economy.
“These recommendations, if implemented, would result in greenhouse gas emission reductions that would surpass the Governor’s 2017 and 2025 emission reduction targets by 11 percent and 34 percent, respectively,” says the executive summary. “Additionally, while some of the recommendations result in an overall societal cost to implement, many were identified to have an overall societal cost-savings.”