Florida labor unions are urging Gov. Rick Scott to release a plan for addressing climate change. When the federal government proposed a carbon-reduction timeline for power plants last month, it asked states to come up with their own proposals for helping achieve the goal: 30 percent less carbon emissions over 15 years.
At the same time, a recent national climate change report named Florida as one of the country’s most at-risk states. Northwest Florida AFL-CIO Executive Director Aaron Wazlavek says the Panhandle is seeing the effects of sea level rise already—especially during recent storms.
“Pensacola suffered a really severe flood here recently; our offices were destroyed," he says.
With some local governments taking action, Wazlavek says labor unions want Scott to release a statewide plan and take public input on it.
“Specifically here in the Panhandle, you know, big business says it’ll destroy jobs," Wazlavek says. "But the voters and the workers here want to have that open forum and talk about it. They want to see this plan.”
Though the AFL-CIO has endorsed Scott’s Democratic challenger, Charlie Crist, Wazlavek insists the call for a clean energy plan is non-political.
“Clean, renewable energy will reduce the pollution that’s causing climate change," he says, "and it presents a unique opportunity to grow jobs here in the U.S.”
He says regardless of what happens in November, the state needs its leader to think about climate change now.