Too little, too late, too Florida


Finally, Floridians are talking about climate change. It’s a strange situation where the American state with the most obvious risk from rising sea levels has been in total denial. Right now people are noticing that “King tides and sunny-day flooding are disrupting postal delivery in many communities, eroding utility boxes, requiring law enforcement to manage traffic corridors where flooding has closed roads”, and yet, they keep electing Republicans who turn a blind eye to everything.

“There hasn’t been a lot of conversation about this. I understand that, and I understand why,’’ he continued, leaving unsaid that the words “climate change” were banned from the lexicon for much of the eight-year tenure of former Gov. Rick Scott, and the state’s response to it was not considered a priority.

But Lee, who served in the Senate for the last six years of Scott’s term, said he believes there has been “a paradigm shift” with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis — who followed the lead of local governments in Florida and appointed a “chief resilience officer” to start talking about the effects of global warming on the state.

The new landscape comes with new political realities, Lee said. “There’s a younger generation of conservatives in this state that aren’t as much in denial.”

“The world is changing and so is the leadership in state government,’’ he said. But he stopped short of saying the Republican governor and the GOP leadership of the House and Senate, as well as the development, utility and insurance industries that finance them, will support the “paradigm shift.”

It’s astonishing that the governor essentially banned a scientific conclusion from any discussion, especially when the fact of climate change is going to hit the state so hard. Pardon me if I’m not impressed with a new set of Republicans who “aren’t as much in denial”; they’re still refusing to address the problem. Read the whole article; they’re patting themselves on the back for thinking they might just get around to talking about it and maybe passing some legislation (no promises, though!), yet there are all these conservative blowhards making excuses for not doing anything by blaming China and India.

All I can say is…

It’s going to be hard to muster any sympathy for Florida when the next hurricane hits or a major city has to be abandoned when they keep electing these idiots.

Can we give it back to the Seminoles before it gets worse? You know, to some people who might take the responsibilities of their home seriously.

Comments

  1. prostheticconscience says

    The problem is that the right can completely accept the reality of the climate crisis, but disagree violently about what actions it implies. We’re seeing what Naomi Klein calls “climate barbarism” adopted by right-wing governments including the US, Australia, and much of Europe: the “lifeboat” logic that developed nations can weather the crisis without giving anything up or making any structural changes, as long as climate migrants are kept out and the rest of the world is kept down. This is subtext for the Trump administration (eg), but it’s text for the rising ecofascist movement, like the Christchurch and El Paso mass-murderers.

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/sep/14/naomi-klein-we-are-seeing-the-beginnings-of-the-era-of-climate-barbarism

  2. foolishleader says

    Can we build a wall and prevent them from inflicting their poor voting choices on other states where they will be seeking refuge?

  3. aspleen says

    Insurance companies do pay attention to reality since it affects their bottom line, and they charge higher premiums accordingly.

  4. DonDueed says

    Last I heard, the Seminoles had not developed gills. So I doubt giving them their land back would do them much good once it’s underwater.

    On the other hand, that does sound like something the US government would do. And feel proud of itself for so doing.

  5. aspleen says

    Also, being charged higher premiums gets developer’s attention since that affects their bottom line, and that gets the politician’s attention pronto. Florida’s economy is based on tourism and retirement and rising ocean levels threatens both.

  6. lupinella says

    DeSantis got elected by literally advertising how much of a Trumpian he was. Now he and the legislature have put up roadblocks against felons regaining voting rights. (The constitutional amendment to restore voting rights for felons was voted for overwhelmingly in 2018.) DeSantis’s staff was also caught with a ‘price guide’ for golf/meetings with the governor. (He has denied knowing anything about that.) Duke energy execs went golfing with him and immediately gave money to the state GOP. Duke is very anti-solar; they consistently fight against it by saying it isn’t feasible because ‘it rains’… and other such logic.

    Disenfranchisement of the poor. Keeping the rich in power. I have a hard time being any more optimistic about DeSantis than I was about Scott or Jeb.

    What people don’t understand about Florida is that it is a red state with blue patches. We’re not purple, we’re blotchy.

  7. steve1 says

    Meanwhile Rick Scott has relocated to the senate and is co-sponsoring a bill that would require an alcohol breathalyzer in all new cars. My bet is he will be investing in the companies producing the breathalyzer equipment. He has had a track record of doing similar acts when he was the Governor of Florida

  8. davidc1 says

    To be fair to Jeb Bush ,he did seem concerned about global warming when he was guv ,i did hear him talking about it one time .

  9. says

    New York is also going to be hit pretty hard. IIRC, Florida will lose a larger proportion of its land, but all those millionaires who live in NYC who the Democrats are terrified of offending are going to have to relocate when the city is underwater. It’s a pretty hefty hike up the valley to the nearest high ground.

  10. Akira MacKenzie says

    I’m not too worried about it. My mother’s side of the family comes from hardy Innsmouth stock.

  11. embraceyourinnercrone says

    @Akira MacKenzie – Love the Lovecraft reference!

    @The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) – Good point, I remember what happened with Superstorm Sandy and I get the feeling that as sea level rise gets worse the infrastructure and structures all along the edges of Manhattan, Far Rockaway, and parts of the Jersey shore are going to become unlivable due to repeated flooding.

    Although South Florida also has to worry about the fact that all their water comes from the Biscayne aquifer and it’s getting infiltrated by salt water…maybe they need the same NO lawn watering rules as Southern California.

  12. says

    PZ:
    I am a Floridian who is staunchly progressive and have a vehement hatred of all things Republican. I have voted in every election I have been able to since I have lived in Florida.I know I am not alone either. Your comments on this post are treating the citizens of this state as a monolith. Do you have friends in Florida? When the next hurricane hits, are you going to have difficulty having sympathy for them if they are displaced, injured, or killed?

    When Hurricane Michael hit last year in October, I sat with extended family a mere 25 miles from landfall of that (now) Category 5 hurricane. We sustained trivial damage to the house and no casualties, but life was upended for us majorly for the 3 weeks it took til power came back on.
    I hadnt had a job at the time bc the one I had closed down the July prior. The hurricane made it even more difficult to find employment.
    I have just now found employment, having moved to Orlando, and that took two months of searching.

    Maybe next time you criticize the shittiness of Republicans, you could limit your remarks to them, rather than casting such a wide net that it encompasses all ppl who live in the state.

  13. aspleen says

    Considering 2050 is only thirty years in the future, this report on how sea level rise will affect will affect on particular island in Florida might get denialists to pull their heads out of the beach sand.

    Will the Gulf of Mexico engulf our island paradise?

    Here’s the nut graf:

    NOAA projects by 2050 levels with calculations in the low, intermediate and high ranges beginning in the year 2000. The current graph includes:

    Low rise: 0.79 feet or about 9.5 inches – best-case scenario.
    Intermediate rise: 1.44 feet.
    High rise: 2.56 feet — worse-case scenario.

    The rise in sea level stands at 1.9 inches from 2000 to 2017. Longtime tidal gauges in St. Petersburg, monitored since 1950, are at historically high rates, rising about an inch a decade, and, in the past decade, showing signs of acceleration.

    Shafer cautioned it has not been long enough to show statistical significance, but certainly merits watching.

    What do all the numbers mean to islanders going about their business or living the dream by a sunny shoreline?

    Using the height of the average woman, the low-rise number would put water levels at the bottom of her calf.

    But if the worst-case scenario were to materialize, that same woman would be wading through water over the knees and almost to the hip in 2050.

  14. Ragutis says

    Hey! Don’t lump us all in to one basket. As mentioned above, we’re kind of blotchy. I’ve been lucky enough to spend most of my life in the blue areas and unfortunate enough to spend 5 years in friggin Lynyrd Skynyrd country. The dichotomy is stark. But i think things are slowly changing. It’s a bit macabre, but the Republicans are burying their supporters at increasing rates and the stiffs are being replaced by a couple of generations that don’t worship Reagan (if they remember him at all) and are concerned about things like sustainability, the climate, the friggin FUTURE. Blue state baby-boomers retiring and moving down here may be helping as well.

    Now, whether blue governance down here, even with Washington’s help, can act quickly enough and invest enough to protect the most vulnerable parts of the state from the worst impacts of climate change…

    I’ve got to say I doubt it. We just don’t think ahead here in the U.S.of A. Roads, bridges, airports, rail… all falling apart. And we can see it happening right before our eyes. How are we to expect our government to plan 50 or 100 years ahead when most voters have been driven into a life where one can barely see past the next paycheck?

    I’m 48. Single. Childless. I like sunset walks on the beach, cuddling during a nighttime thunderstorm and watching whatever you want to watch on TV So, I can probably spend the rest of my life here. But I’d like for others’ kids to surf the spots I grew up surfing. I’d like there to be Pompano and Snook and trout for my generation’s grandkids to catch. It’d be such a shame for the forests and campgrounds I ran around in to be erased by disease or infestation or flooding. FFS, we’ve already got Lionfish and pythons up the wazoo and mosquitoes carrying Dengue Fever and other diseases I can’t even begin to spell.

  15. tulle says

    I live in Florida. My neighbors down by the creek get what is now about three inches of water in their driveway at the highest hig tide. This started about 15 years ago and has been getting worse over time, it did not happen last century

  16. logicalcat says

    I don’t know if its already been said, but the Floridians like myself who do believe in global warming live in the south where we see the effects of it every day. The northern part (republicans) they don’t care because it will get rid of the godless brown ppl to the south, and/or the climate problem is less obvious up top. Still obvious, but not in your face like Miami used to have winters but don’t anymore Florida.

  17. says

    I think progressive people make a mistake when they think conservative and right wing leaders (unlike most of their voters) are in denial about climate change and what it means. We all know the results will be catastrophic. First of all, it will kill a lot of people they don’t really consider people anyway.
    Second, it will create a state of constant emergency, which will allow them to abolish all civil liberties fro “the common good”. There will be huge amounts of refugees, and since a great many of them will be within countries, they will have lots of support for closing borders and defending them with the military. In short, every right wing authoritarians dream will come true.

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