Whit Remer, Tampa’s first-ever sustainability and resilience officer, discussed the city’s new Climate Action and Equity Plan for dealing with the challenges of climate change on WMNF WaveMakers with Janet and Tom on July 11.
The plan, released last month by Mayor Jane Castor, covers three broad categories—mitigate, adapt, engage—covering 10 categories. It is intended to be a comprehensive approach involving all departments of the city, Remer explained.
Thanks to state and federal funding to address the impacts of climate change, the city is exploring ways to convert its large fleet of gasoline-powered cars to electric to reduce the city’s footprint. It is also including sustainability in all of its new construction, including a large array of solar energy panels at the City Center project on Hannah Avenue.
The city distributed 180 vouchers worth up to $2,000 for residents to buy electric bikes. And the city’s Mobility Department is developing connected bike lanes to encourage more people to use alternative transportation. About 45 percent of carbon emissions come from, cars and trucks, Remer said.
The city is also requiring large multi-family construction to be built so EV charging stations can be installed. Less than 5 percent of private cars in Tampa are electric, but demand is growing as car prices fall and gas prices climb.
The city also has an ambitious plan to plant 30,000 trees by 2030. The city has lost some of its famous tree canopy to development and the age of trees.
The city is trying to do all it can within the restraints of state laws by the Florida Legislature that prevent local governments from dealing with climate change, such as regulations to conserve the city’s trees, Remer.