Sunshine State Ready to Tackle Climate Change

Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist has signed three executive orders in an effort to begin cutting green house gases from energy consumption in the state.

Surrounded by hurricane fueling waters, its populous coastline not much above sea level, you’d think Florida would have been one of the first in the nation to challenge global warming.

It wasn’t, of course, but oh well, that’s water under the bridge. The state now seems ready to go.

Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist has signed three executive orders in an effort to begin cutting green house gases from energy consumption in the state.

With the first executive order, “Leadership by Example: Immediate Actions to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Florida State Government,” the state will begin by measuring greenhouse gas emissions and developing a Governmental Carbon Scorecard.

Then, based on that, the state government will require that many state operations reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, by 10 percent in 2012, 25 percent by 2017 and 40 percent by 2025.


State buildings built in the future, as well as those leased, must be energy efficient and include solar energy if possible. State vehicles must also be fuel efficient or run on ethanol or bio-diesel. The government, too, will seek to partner with an energy-efficient rental-car company for the 2009 contract.

(There are no details in the order to describe “energy efficient” and “fuel efficient”.)

Exempted from the ruling are the Legislature, the university system, Cabinet agencies and several state departments.

In the second executive order, “Immediate Actions to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions within Florida” the governor asked for the adoption of maximum emission levels of greenhouse gases from electric utilities. The standard will require a reduction to 2000 levels by 2017, to 1990 levels by 2025, and to 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050.

The governor will also request that the state adopt a 20 percent by 2020 Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that has a strong focus on solar and wind energy.

Florida will also seek to adopt the California motor vehicle emission standards, which are pending the approval of a US Environmental Protection Agency waiver. That standard is a 22-percent reduction in vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by 2012 and a 30-percent reduction by 2016.

The state will also require consumer appliances to increase efficiency by 15 percent above current standards.

In the third executive order, “Florida Governor’s Action Team on Energy and Climate Change” Governor Crist will appoint a team to create a Florida Climate Change Action Plan. The plan will include strategies beyond in the two (above) signed Executive Orders to further reduce emissions and make recommendations for legislation that could be considered during the 2008 Legislative Session and beyond.

Governor Crist also signed two partnership agreements, “Partnership on Global Climate Change, Action between the United Kingdom and the State of Florida,” and “Partnership on Global Climate Change, Action with the Federal Republic of Germany and the State of Florida.” The partnership goals are to exchange delegations with Germany and the UK to share knowledge on climate change public policy and science/technology related to energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The Partnership agreements could lead to an increase in climate-friendly trade between the Florida, Germany and the United Kingdom.

With these Executive Orders and Partnership agreements not only will Florida begin to take on the challenge of mitigating its share of global warming but is taking the first steps in building new green energy industry for the state.

With more than 300 days of sunshine each year, you can bet that a solar energy industry is set to flourish in the state.

Learn more: Florida Governor’s Office