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Miami Climate Czar: Hiring A Chief Resilience Officer ‘Key’ To Fighting Climate Change In Jax

Miami Dade County Chief Resiliency Officer James Murley.
The University of Miami
Miami Dade County Chief Resiliency Officer James Murley.

Miami Dade County’s Chief Resilience Officer says the best thing Jacksonville can do as it starts trying to deal with climate change is to appoint someone who will spearhead the city’s efforts.

James Murley spoke to the Jacksonville City Council’s Special Committee on Resiliency Friday to discuss Miami’s resiliency efforts and to give advice.

He said if Jacksonville is serious about dealing with climate change and its impacts, hiring a chief resilience officer (CRO) should be a priority.

“I’m not ashamed to say, I think that’s just a key role that will advance all the work that you’re doing,” he told committee members. “I’ve had tremendous support by my Mayor and Council. That’s allowed me to play a unique role in our community and county government.”

Murley emphasized that resiliency isn’t just about climate change.

“It’s also about how you build in the impacts of other shocks that affect your community. Things that could be climate related, like a storm, or it could be something like an outbreak of Zika, which we had experienced,” he said. “But it also incorporates the stresses that our community experiences on a regular basis: things like housing, transportation, and income disparities.”

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has included funding in his proposed budget to hire a chief resilience officer and to establish a resiliency office.

Murley has offered to partner with Jacksonville as city leaders start tackling these issues.

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.