Why Doesn’t ‘Climate Change’ Exist in Florida?

Florida's Governor Rick Scott. (Image: Public Domain)
Florida's Governor Rick Scott. (Image: Public Domain)

Thirty percent of Florida’s beaches are under threat from rising sea levels over the next 85 years.

Scientists say that Florida is the most susceptible state in the United States to the effects of climate change.

But there’s no point talking to officials at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the state agency that deals with climate change.

According to a report by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting (FCIR), DEP officials have been ordered not to use the term “climate change” or “global warming” in any official communications, emails, or reports, according to former DEP employees, consultants, volunteers, and records that were obtained by FCIR.

One minute video on Gov. Rick Scott’s seeming disregard of climate change:

In an interview with FCIR, Christopher Byrd, an attorney with the DEP’s Office of General Counsel in Tallahassee from 2008 to 2013, said: “We were told not to use the terms ‘climate change,’ ‘global warming,’ or ‘sustainability.’ That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors in the Office of General Counsel.”

CNN video on Gov. Scott’s continuing hesitancy to discuss climate change:

Byrd went on to say: “It’s an indication that the political leadership in the state of Florida is not willing to address these issues and face the music when it comes to the challenges that climate change present.”

With Gov. Scott refusing to acknowledge climate change, a group of Florida scientists asked if they could meet with him to explain the science. He agreed and gave them 30 minutes.

This is the meeting between scientists and Gov. Scott about the realities of climate change:

“He actually, as we were warned, spent 10 minutes doing silly things like prolonged introductions,” Harold Wanless, a geologist and University of Miami professor, recalled to FCIR. “But we had our 20 to 21 minutes, and he said thank you and went on to his more urgent matters, such as answering his telephone calls and so on. There were no questions of substance.”

Whether you believe in climate change or not, I think Gov Scott’s reaction is over the top. There are some people who still don’t believe and that’s their choice, but as a government official, it’s his job to at least listen and try to understand. An ostrich approach is not at all appropriate or constructive to an issue that has such potential catastrophic effects on the state of Florida.

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