Governor Rick Scott says his administration is willing to meet with 10 scientists who want to speak with him about climate change. But, the scientists say they don’t want to speak to Scott’s staff about the impacts of man-made global warming has on Florida, they want to speak to Scott directly.
According a short documentary film from the National Geographic gives a short overview about climate change:
“The IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] reports, leave no room for doubt. Global warming is a fact. And, human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels, industrial emissions, and deforestation are the main cause of climate change and its most dangerous side effects…”
It’s been a topic of discussion lately in Florida. Back when he was first running for office, Governor Scott said he wasn’t convinced there’s any “man-made climate change.” Now, years later, and running for a second term, Scott’s latest answer can be heard here, speaking to a Miami Herald reporter in May:
“…Now, you’re not saying, ‘look, I doubt the science.’ Now, you’re saying ‘I’m not a scientist.’ Am I right in guessing that,” asked the reporter.
“Well, I’m not a scientist. But, I can tell you what we’ve accomplished. We’ve put a lot of effort into making sure we take care of our natural treasures, the Everglades, making sure water flows South, any flooding around our coast…So, we’re doing the right thing,” Scott replied.
Scott says he also wants to make Florida’s environment a place everyone can enjoy, and now, ten scientists say they want to help explain what’s at stake for Florida to Scott.
Florida State University Oceanography Professor Jeff Chanton is among the scientists asking to speak to Scott on the issue of Climate change, and hand delivered a letter to Scott’s office Tuesday. A day later, after receiving national attention, Scott said his administration would be happy to meet with the scientists.
“I don’t know what exactly means. In a sense, I already met with his administration when I delivered the letter. I hope that he will meet with us himself,” said Chanton.
So, why should the Governor, let alone the average person, care about climate change? Chanton says this is not a “Save the earth” scenario, it’s more like a “Save the human race” situation.
“There’s seven billion of us on this planet, and feeding all these people depends on stable conditions. And, there’s a lot of evidence that the civilization that we have now flourish because of a very stable climate. Climate disruption disrupts what we do,” continued Chanton.
And, he says if Florida, for example, continues down this path, Florida will be vulnerable to even more frequent extreme weather to deal with—like sea level rise and extreme heat—caused by climate change that the state is already starting to see.
“And, if we unleash the climate and make it more unstable, we’re going to have a harder time maintaining ourselves, and we saw that this winter. You know, just a bad winter of the year 2014 disrupted our economic activity. Okay? So, what would a really bad climate do to us? It would be painful, and we want to avoid pain, right?”
So, he recommends Scott work with the federal Environmental Protection Agency to put into effect new rules reducing carbon emissions from power plants.
“And, that would be a good first step. We have to start going down the road of doing something about it. There is some movement at the county level, particularly in South Florida, to plan for sea level rise and climate change, but at the state level, nothing is being done,” said Chanton.
He says the Governor could also shift the state to more solar power.
“You know, Germany has the highest use of solar power and the highest solar power generation rate of any place in the world, yet they don’t call Germany the Sunshine state,” he added. “We’re the Sunshine state! And, therefore, there needs to be incentives for people to put solar panels up on their roofs and feed electricity into the grid. That would be a really great step for us. That would reduce fossil fuel pollution and it would reduce the effect of climate change right away.”
Meanwhile, Scott’s likely challenger, Republican-Turned-Democrat Charlie Crist has already taken a position on climate change. In fact, during his time as Florida’s Republican Governor, here he is talking about climate change at an annual Florida Summit on Global Climate Change in 2007—in his effort to push for clean energy initiatives:
Chanton says if Scott does jump on the “climate change” bandwagon, he could actually steal votes from Crist if they face off against each other in the November election.
For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.