Environment News Service (ENS)

Florida stakeholders to advise energy and climate change team


Source: Environment News Service (ENS)

A team charged with developing a plan to achieve targets for statewide greenhouse gas reductions for Florida convened Friday to begin developing Phase Two of the plan with the help of stakeholders arrayed in six technical work groups.

The Phase One report and recommendations were delivered to Governor Charlie Crist on November 1, 2007.

Governor Crist established the 21 member Action Team on Energy and Climate Change by executive order last July. The team is charged with creating and evaluating comprehensive actions to achieve reduction targets for greenhouse gas reductions, including policy recommendations and changes to existing law.

The Phase Two report, due October 1, will focus on mitigating impacts to society, public health, the economy and the environment created by greenhouse gas emissions from new growth.

At Friday's meeting, Action Team Chairman Michael Sole, secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, introduced the Center for Climate Strategies as facilitators for the Phase Two process.

This nonprofit organization works with public officials and stakeholders to identify, design, and implement policies that address climate mitigation, clean energy, and economic development opportunities. Currently, the Center is working in 16 states to build consensus and develop comprehensive action plans.

The Center for Climate Strategies presents itself as 'neutral and expert.'

'We are not advocates for particular approaches with vested interests, and we do not take positions on policy or legislative issues. We assemble and facilitate complex decisions among diverse stakeholder groups,' the Center says.

'Meeting Florida's growing energy needs while reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases is one of the most important issues we face today,' said Sole. 'By having the Center for Climate Strategies facilitating this important stakeholder dialogue on climate change, we can ensure that the people of Florida will continue to enjoy the natural landscape and the quality of life we all enjoy.'

Plans are to have stakeholders form technical work groups that will operate alongside the Action Team to explore carbon capture and storage technologies and coordinate a long-term public policy.

The effort will focus on reducing greenhouse gases in areas of economic development, university-based research and development, energy, environmental protection, growth management and transportation.

The six groups will address cap and trade design; electric supply and demand issues; transportation and land use; agriculture, forestry and waste management; government policy coordination; and adaptation.

Sole said, 'Partnering experts from various industries with the members of the Action Team, we can shape Florida's climate change strategies with consensus-based policy solutions.'

The Governor's Action Team is one of a series of initiatives outlined in three Executive Orders Governor Crist signed at climate summit in July 2007. Other activities include developing a carbon scorecard for all state agencies and making state buildings and vehicles more energy efficient.

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