By Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, City of Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, and City of Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez
At this pivotal moment for avoiding devastating climate impacts, Greater Miami and the Beaches stands ready to roll up our sleeves, partner and collaborate with all levels of government, business, academia and civil society to re-imagine and build a resilient society — one that lives in harmony and respect for our natural environment, cooperation with one another and economic opportunity for all.
In our community, the alarm bell rings loud and clear. We are already witnessing the bleaching of coral reefs, fish kills in Biscayne Bay, sunny day flooding, halting traffic, and overflowing septic tanks.
Hurricane Irma cost our region over $50 billion in 2017. The damages would have been closer to $300 billion if the hurricane had hit Miami directly. Our average elevation of 6 feet and porous limestone foundation make us particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise.
That’s why Greater Miami and the Beaches has a big stake in national and international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the pollutants that contribute to warming temperatures and rising seas. Our constituents and local leaders are aware that to preserve and protect our piece of paradise, we must take robust action now.
On this Earth Day 2021, we the mayors of Miami, Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County are further strengthening our collective action by committing to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, with the most dramatic decreases in the next 10 to 15 years. This commitment builds on our Resilient305 strategy released in 2019.
Supported by over 30 mayors in greater Miami, Resilient305 includes policies and initiatives to increase the efficiency and resilience of our buildings, expand electric vehicles and transit infrastructure, prioritize bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and expand living wage job opportunities in clean and resilient energy, buildings and infrastructure.
However, we cannot get to net zero alone and our actions would be of little consequence without robust national and international commitments, investment and action. Therefore, we applaud the Biden administration’s leadership to reenter the 2015 Paris Agreement, commit to significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and convene the highest emitting nations to prepare mutually supportive reductions in preparation for the 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Scotland in November.
As with many others joining the Race to Zero, we have not stood idly by while waiting for national leadership. We have the plans, partnerships and funding available to match federal investments from the American Jobs Plan. We know that investments in clean, resilient infrastructure and affordable housing will provide returns of as much as 9 to 1 and, therefore, do not see these as partisan issues in Greater Miami.
Together, we can create a model for a clean, resilient and inclusive global metropolitan region. We may be vulnerable, but we have collective political will to act.
Francis X. Suarez is mayor of Miami; Daniella Levine Cava is mayor of Miami-Dade County and Dan Gelber is mayor of Miami Beach. For questions, please contact Lisa Mozloom, The M Network, firstname.lastname@example.org
“The Invading Sea” is the opinion arm of the Florida Climate Reporting Network, a collaborative of news organizations across the state focusing on the threats posed by the warming climate.