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Published on: News

Florida’s Opportunity to Lead on Climate Remains Open, For Now

published on: August 13, 2021

We are in the midst of a climate emergency. Despite voters’ calls for clean energy, Florida lawmakers have stalled for decades. 

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report this week, sounding a Code Red alarm. The report notes the dire impacts of climate change and how we can expect the consequences to get even worse if our leaders fail to act. Burning fossil fuels damages our planet, fueling heat waves, making wet and dry seasons more inconsistent, supercharging storms, and causing sea level rise. 

From Page 36 of the Report Summary for Policymakers

From a physical science perspective, limiting human-induced global warming to a specific level requires limiting cumulative CO2 emissions, reaching at least net zero CO2 emissions, along with strong reductions in other greenhouse gas emissions. Strong, rapid and sustained reductions in CH4 emissions would also limit the warming effect resulting from declining aerosol pollution and would improve air quality.

Heatwaves have become more deadly and now occur five times as often as before. Fossil fuels have also thrown off our weather patterns by increasing the extremity of both droughts and rainfall. Mega-droughts are afflicting the western U.S. and can spur increased fires. On the other hand, increased extreme rainfall causes flooding, mudslides, stress to water runoff infrastructure, and other deadly impacts. 

The fossil fuel industry has political influence, money, disinformation, and lobbying power.  With their thumb on the scales, leaders have delayed the robust changes that we need. And now we are paying for those decades of inaction. Governor DeSantis, his predecessor Rick Scott, and legislative leaders have routinely prioritized polluters over the people they serve by rejecting community calls for clean energy and failing to set 100% renewable energy goals.

The climate crisis is not a tomorrow problem — it’s now. We need rapid, swift, and bold action now. The opportunity window to begin Florida’s steady transition to clean energy is still wide open, but time is running out.

If lawmakers don’t act immediately to cut greenhouse gas emissions, people will continue to feel the impacts of rising seas, hotter days, and stronger storms. The climate crisis is not a science problem; it is a political problem. The choices our lawmakers make today will determine the kind of world we leave to the next generation.  As voters, there’s one thing we can do to truly stop climate change: elect leaders who will act on climate. 

That’s where you come in, Conservation Voters. We need your help holding our lawmakers accountable. Without local, state, and federal action, we cannot act on climate. And the only force large enough to face the fossil fuel industry is our elected leaders. Our next chance to enact meaningful policy change is the 2022 legislative session, which officially begins in early January. 

FCV’s work to connect with your lawmakers starts now. Do you know who represents you in the Florida Capitol? Use our Find Your Legislators tool to find out! While you’re there, you can find their contact information and connect with them directly. 

You can also help fuel our advocacy by becoming an FCV volunteer. While the reality is upsetting and our time to act is rapidly diminishing, Conservation Voters must all remain determined and united. We don’t have a moment to waste, and our leaders must get this right. Join FCV today to learn more about how you can get involved. 

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