How We Can Fight Global Warming As A City

October 28, 2021

We will continue to work with our residents and other stakeholders to address carbon reduction

Over the past years scientists and leaders around the globe have been sounding the alarm about global warming and climate change. When I first had the opportunity to participate in the US Conference of Mayors over 15 years ago, I joined the Environment Committee. At the first meeting we heard presentations from NASA engineers on the satellite images of our plant and the degradation of the ice caps and Greenland. It was both educational and meant to sound the warning that many nations around the globe had already heeded.

At that time living in South Florida, we already knew it was happening. Sadly, many deniers simply did not believe the science. Mayors like me started to take a stand. We united and adopted the Climate Pledge supporting the Paris Accord. The US did not join the treaty, however, I joined and was one of the original signers. The kickoff event took place in Seattle where we joined via video conference with Vice President Al Gore for his release of the movie Inconvenient Truth 2006. I have often wondered how different the United States would be if he had won the election.

Since then, the Mayors have been incrementally doing what we can to address global warming. Our City's first project was through Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grants EECBG. We retrofitted the City Hall lighting system. This grant paid for itself through cost savings and it was a wonderful program that was never reauthorized by the new administration and we are currently working to get it reauthorized.

As a City we hired Sustainability Coordinator Susan Fassler to evaluate what measures and policies we could implement and continue with the goal of reducing our carbon emissions. When we first started there were no tools for smaller cities to even provide carbon assessments. Fast forward and now these tools are available and we created a sustainability plan, which was adopted in 2018 and has been redrafted since then. Many residents even participated in its creation. I encourage residents to visit our website at: www.cohb.org and then click on our Green Initiatives tab to see the document.

I had the opportunity to speak about our plan at a recent Broward County Summit. Our City was highlighted since we were the first city to adopt 30 by 50. The plan includes internal policies for operations and purchasing, the first GreenHouse Gas Emission Inventory has established a LEED Gold policy for all future City buildings, policies to replace all vehicles with electric or hybrid, guidelines for green developments, post disaster building guidelines, addressing sea-level rise with a new sea wall and building elevation regulations.

The mayors still continue to lobby and work to address climate change. There is now a group of over 470 mayors that have joined the Climate Mayors. We hold monthly meetings and share ideas on how to move forward. Each step we take helps to address the climate crisis.

Our Commission continues to implement our plan. This past week we approved a purchase for our Police Department’s replacement of their vehicles. These purchases had been put off for years. Some vehicles should have been replaced 6 years ago. While our goal is for all electric purchases, this is a combination of electric and hybrid. The police cruiser will be hybrids and other utility vehicles will be all electric.

To implement an electric fleet, you obviously need charging stations, which we have been installing, but there is still a big obstacle to provide enough electricity. Currently the transformers within FPL’s infrastructure need to be upgraded to meet these demands, which we will continue to work on with them and to push for investments in our electric grid.

We will continue to work with our residents and other stakeholders to address carbon reduction. Transportation in our City produces 49% of our carbon footprint. I encourage every resident to do their part. Shut off lights when not in use, sign up for FPL’s free electric audit, conserve water, try to combine your trips and every measure adds to our goal.

As always, I am available anytime for your questions, concerns and ideas to make our City, a better place, on my phone/text at: (954) 632-5700. Or you can e-mail me at: jcooper@cohb.org. Please visit my Facebook Page: MayorJoyCooper. Like It! Friend It! Share It!