MIAMI BEACH, FL – Monroe County Mayor David Rice and Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi participated on panels during the recent 10th Annual Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Monroe County has been an active member and leader in the four-County, Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact since its inception in 2009.
The nonpartisan Climate Compact, which includes Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties and 109 municipalities, have recognized that climate change and rising sea levels are a real threat to the region’s environment, economy and property values. For the past decade, the Climate Compact has been working collaboratively to advance climate solutions for the region that is home to 6 million residents, the only living coral reef in the continental United States, a robust tourist industry and a third of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Mayor Rice was on a four-person panel, “A View from the Dais,” that included Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A, Gimenez, Broward Mayor Beam Furr and Palm Beach County Administrator Verdenia Baker. They discussed the difficult actions current and future leaders will need to focus on to make communities better adapt to shocks and stresses facing the region.
“We don’t need to run for the hills,” Rice said. “We need to continue to take steps to meet the challenge.”
Gastesi was on a three-person panel, “Progress in Advancing Regional Climate Risk,” that included FEMA Associate Administrator for Resilience Carlos J. Castillo.
“We’re very vulnerable; we’re very low,” Gastesi said during his presentation about Monroe County. “If we do nothing, up to 36 percent of our population could be displaced in 42 years, if the high-end, sea level rise projections occur. But obviously, we are doing a lot. …
“The County Commission had the foresight to pass a resolution that directs County staff to consider sea level rise in everything we do. We’re raising roads, putting in additional drainage features, constructing County buildings at higher elevations and taking other measures. We all need to address it because climate change and sea level rise are not going away.”
At the Climate Change Summit, Monroe County was well represented by County staff that included Sustainability Director Rhonda Haag, Legislative Affairs Director Lisa Tennyson, Environmental Resources Acting Director Emily Schemper, Sr. Administrator of Environmental Resources Michael Roberts and Extension Services Director Alicia Betancourt.