Policy and Regulatory

Policy and Regulatory Overview on Sustainability and Climate Planning

Federal Initiatives

Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force

The Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force identified eight guiding principles that governments, communities, and private sector organizations should consider when designing  and implementing sustainability and climate change initiatives. Federal agencies are required to incorporate the principles into their planning.

image-2Climate Change Planning Principles
Created by the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force

  • Adaptation of an integrated sustainability approach into the core policies, planning and practices of the agencies
  • Prioritizing planning approaches for the most vulnerable people, places and infrastructure
  • Using best available science when implementing adaptation protocols even though there will always be risk of uncertainty
  • Building strong partnerships by coordinating among geographical scales and levels of government based on the varying and unique risks of the locality and region
  • Applying standard risk management tools that most governments already have in place to aid in critical decisions for potential consequences of inaction as well as options for risk reduction
  • Maximizing mutual benefits by coordinating with and supporting other climate or environmental initiatives such as disaster preparedness, resource management, and cost-effective technologies to reduce GHGs
  • Applying ecosystem based approaches by integrating biodiversity and ecosystem services into adaptation strategies
  • Continuously evaluating performance by measuring goals and metrics to evaluate whether adaptive measures are achieving goals

image-5Sustainability Goals for Federal Agencies

Executive Order 13693, signed in 2015, takes planning a step further with 12 sustainability goals for federal agencies.  The order also encourages comparable changes “across the federal supply chain.”  Some of these new goals include:

  • Setting building efficiency targets for renewable or alternative energy use
  • Reducing energy intensity in Federal buildings by certain percentages
  • Establishing alternative energy acquisition in government procurement policies

While these goals are not enforceable, they are a step toward developing a broader program with measurable outcomes.

Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS)

Executive Order 13690 establishes a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard.  The FFRMS applies to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants when they fund construction activities in or affecting a floodplain.

Florida Initiatives

In 2006, the legislature created the Florida Energy Commission (FEC), which manages renewable energy grants and a solar rebate program.  In 2007, the governor signed a series of executive orders to reduce GHG emissions and established an Action Team on Energy and Climate Change. Also in 2007,  the legislature directed the Florida Building Commission to create a model green building ordinance.

image-4GHG Reduction and Green Building Standards

In 2008, the legislature directed local governments to include GHG reduction strategies into their comprehensive plans. New legislation required that when municipal governments and state agencies construct new buildings, they must meet a recognized third-party green building standard. Examples are the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or standards created by the Florida Green Building Coalition. Other legislation required the Florida Building Code to become significantly more energy efficient than the requirements of the 2007 Code.

Creation of Adaptation Action Areas

In 2011, Chapter 163 of the Florida Statutes was revised to include the concept of “adaptation action areas” (AAAs). AAAs are a permissive option for local governments to address sea level rise in their comprehensive plans.  They  are defined as:

…a designation …which identifies one or more areas that experience coastal flooding due to extreme high tides and storm surge, and that are vulnerable to the related impacts of rising sea levels for the purposes of prioritizing funding for infrastructure needs and adaptation planning.

image-1Requiring Sea Level Rise in Comprehensive Plans

In 2015, legislation expanded the requirements for the coastal management section of a comprehensive plan.  The plans must include development and redevelopment principles, strategies, and engineering solutions that reduce flood risks in coastal areas  from high-tide events, storm surges, flash floods, stormwater runoff, and the related impacts of sea level rise.

This is a significant development.  For the first time, the State of Florida requires local governments to consider the impacts of sea level rise in long-range planning efforts.


Policy and Regulatory