There has been a lot of attention paid to climate change impacts to Florida in the past month, including the record rain storms that resulted in the declaration of a state of emergency in dozens of panhandle counties, Senator Bill Nelson’s special climate hearing in Miami, and of course the just-released National Climate Assessment, which calls out Florida as one of the nation’s most vulnerable states to climate impacts.
The National Climate Assessment Florida-specific fact sheet details the specific threats to the state’s tourism, health, and coastal water management system. In real terms, this means Florida will have flood control challenges; experience more 95 degree and above days; have trouble finding enough drinking water – because of saltwater intrusion into drinking wells; and could lose $40 billion in revenue by the 2050s due to climate change impacts.
So, what’s the governor’s plan for tackling climate change and promoting clean energy for Floridians? Florida’s native son and noted author, Carl Hiaasen, imagined a speech from Rick Scott in his recent column in the Miami Herald addressing the mounting effects of climate change because Scott has yet to address the issue, other than to express doubt. Hiaasen’s take is comical:
To concerned residents of greater Miami, Tampa Bay and Apalachicola — three areas singled out by the federal report as imperiled by rising water — here’s what I would say:
Open a paddleboard shop, people. Or an airboat taxi service.
Why not turn a negative situation into a positive opportunity? One person’s sinkhole is another person’s cave-spelunking franchise.
The reality of climate change impacts to Florida are, of course, no joke. The column is a subtle reminder of the power of the Florida governor’s office to set policies that prepare the state for climate change impacts and shape the state’s energy policy to focus on renewable energy and reduce the carbon pollution that is contributing to the problem. For starters, now is the time for the governor of the state that is “ground zero” for climate change impacts to protect Florida’s families by supporting soon-to-be released EPA rules that’ll reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants.
As Hiaasen says (with tongue in cheek), “Come on Florida, let’s get to work.”
If you believe that Florida’s governor should be reducing harmful carbon pollution from power plants and paving the way on clean energy, check out ‘What’s Your Plan, Gov?, a collaborative effort to ensure the state’s governor does, in fact, “get to work” on tackling climate change. Sign the petition urging his support for limits on carbon pollution today.