« Citizens defends foreign travel, draws flak from Scott | Main | David Rivera named co-conspirator when friend pleads guilty to campaign-finance violations »

Scott meeting with climate scientists is a 'leadership' moment for him they say

 Gov. Rick Scott faces a pivotal moment in his term today when he meets with climate scientists for 30 minutes, after being shamed into the encounter by rival Charlie Crist who agreed to meet with the academics after Scott demurred.

“As scientists, we’re map makers and policymakers like Gov. Scott are the navigators. He needs to tell us where to go,’’ said David Hastings, professor of marine science and chemistry at Eckerd College.

Hastings is one of the state’s top scientists from the Florida universities and colleges who sent a letter to the governor last month, asking for a chance to be able to explain the impact human-induced global warming will have on Florida.

“Regarding climate change in this state, we have been leaderless,’’ Hastings told the Herald/Times. “The challenge now is that the Climate Action Plan that the EPA has put forward requires us to take some action – we have to reduce emissions by 38 percent in 15 years. That’s not very long and so the governor at this point needs to set up a transparent process.”

The governor initially denied the impact of human-induced global warming when he first ran for office in 2010,saying he has "not been convinced that there's any man-made climate change."

He has since been reluctant to engage on the issue, answering only, "I’m not a scientist,’’ when he was asked about it.

“This is his moment for leadership, and it’s his moment to demonstrate to his constituents that he cares – and that he understands it,’’ Hastings said. “His role is to understand these things.”

After Scott initially announced that his staff would meet with the scientists, he agreed to personally meet with them after Crist, the former governor and Democratic candidate for governor, announced he would have a meeting with the experts.

Crist said he’s already a “believer” in climate change but said he listened to a scientific presentation in July to underscore the differences between him and his rival. After the meeting, Scott's campaign noted that Crist flew to the press conference on a plane owned by James Finch, owner of Phoenix Construction whom Scott volunteers called a polluter. 

Will the governor continue to do what he has carefully done this year and avoid taking a position that would inform Floridians where he will lead the state as it faces federal deadlines to address EPA rules to lower carbon emissions?

Will he let the climate experts persuade him that action is needed to avoid the rising tides that imperil its shores. Or will he tell them their thinking is wrong, pushing back in a fervent defense like the conservatives oil industry leaders such as the Koch Brothers?

Scott told reporters Tuesday he is looking forward to "listening to their solutions."

The scientists, who are the top in their fields at the universities of Miami, Florida State, Florida International and Eckerd College, plan to show the governor a few slides and convince the governor that “this is not complicated,’’ Hastings said. “We teach this to 18-year-olds every year and I’ve been doing it for 25 years. It’s not hard science.”

Scott and his environmental officials face new deadlines under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. Under the plan, the Environmental Protection Agency has required that Florida reduce greenhouse gas emissions from future and existing power plants by specific levels by 2030.

Under those rules, Florida must prepare a plan to reduce it greenhouse gas emissions by about 38 percent by 2030 within the year.

According to the EPA, Florida has the 13th lowest historical fossil fuel emissions of any state. But the EPA gives the advantage to other states over Florida when calculating the 2030 standard because Florida doesn't have a robust plans to increase renewable energy output and displace coal-fired fuel generation.

A study by the environmental consulting firm the Brattle Group calculated that the EPA rule will require Florida to reduce its CO2 levels by more than 40 million tons, at a cost of about $1.3 billion.

Hastings said that while science is often blurred by lack of consensus, this is an issue that “is very clear.”

The ability of science to use sophisticated technology to determine the shift in global temperatures and the rise of carbon in the atmosphere presents an irrefutable picture that “it is in fact human induced,’’ Hastings said.

He noted that Miami Beach streets flood on a regular basis as the tide rises and it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to remedy those concerns.

“Florida is ground zero for climate change,’’ Hastings said. “Not only sea level rise, we’re looking at increased intensity of hurricanes. We need to be concerned about our coral reefs that are affected by increase in temperature and increased acidity of the ocean. All around us we see Florida being affected by the impact of climate change.”

Because climate change is a planetary problem that requires collaboration with other states and nations, and leadership, he said. “We can change something.’’ 

He compared it to driving on a freeway, seeing a car stopped in front of you. “You don’t sit there and have a conversation about what to do. You slam on the brakes right away even if you think you may still hit the car.

“…This is a great time to act and I’m so looking forward to what Gov. Scott will do,’’ he said.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

David J.

What is the optimal tempreture for the earth? Where does it function best? Should we be colder?

The interesting thing about all of this is the change. First, a mini ice age, then global warming, and now climate change. These guys cannot agree on a name.

Then we are told that only the industrialized nations can stop this. China and other third world countries are given a pass.

Of course all these scientist make thier living off of this and will never live to see if they were right or wrong. Nice gig.

ed jenkins

The citizens do not care who their governor does or does not meet with as it is his time and he can manage his schedule as sees fit.

However the citizens and especially democrat primary voters do not want their political leaders listening to these communists and egghead teachers who make absurd proclamations with no consequences. Democrat primary voters have seen their real incomes stagnate in recent decades as a result of rising costs from government caused inflation and the last thing they want to see is their governor listen to these people who are out of touch with the real world who insist on greatly increasing costs for their own entertainment. The citizens suggest these most horrible people spend their own money on various projects if they are interested in them but the citizens suspect that when these crackpots have to spend their own money these outrageous ideas will not be so important to them.

The citizens also suggest that if these eggheads do not like the level of the tide to just wait some time since tides go up and down as they have throughout history.

Flooding on the Beach is currently being addressed by citizen approved sewage system improvements which these most horrible people would be aware of if they were in the real world.

Tally Folly

ed u r so dumb

Keith Stegath

It's great to finally see critical thinking by deniers'. Scott will surely join EdJ and DavidJ in coming around to accepting climate change.

While EdJ and DavidJ were late coming to the party, at least they came to their senses and realized that the $40M/year for college dropout and entertainer Lush Rimbaugh has a much bigger incentive to maintain his ignorance.

Bravo EdJ and DavidJ for your courage. I know it will be difficult, but we scientists, engineers, and liberals stand behind you in denouncing Lush.

Bravo.

palmettoexile

THIS citizen heartily agrees with Keith Stegath. Kudos to you for your thoughtful and witty comment on the ever-changing attitudes of deniers edj and DavidJ ; I, too, now have a semblance of hope that other deniers-specifically, Gov.Scott and his Repub cohorts (all non-scientists, by their own admissions)- in this family-friendly State will also come to their 'senses' and loudly denounce The Lush. I add Steve Southerland and his 'job creators' who wish to demolish the EPA recommendations to this august assembly.
Let the church bells peal these joyful tidings to ALL in this family- friendly, abysmally ignorant State! May they ring loudly enough to dislodge the grasping claws of Scott, et al from the high perches upon which they now crouch!
I've always been partial to sweaters, however-I will miss being able to wear them. But-a small price for this citizen to pay; 'tis of no consequence, however, since all in the family-friendly State will either be under water if they haven't decamped elsewhere to higher ground..Sigh. Tornados, anyone? What WILL one wear?? A true sartorial dilemma, that.
To ebay I go-to list leather jackets, exquisite silk blouses, my much-loved cashmere, and other such niceties of dress. Great deals are a'coming !

The comments to this entry are closed.