Florida Governor Waffles on Climate: “I’m not a Scientist”
May 29, 2014
But look over here at the shiny keys.
I’m not a doctor, but I know that cigarettes are bad for you. I’m not a geographer, but I know the earth is round, not flat.
Increasingly, hard core GOP politicians, like Florida Governor Rick Scott, are getting less comfortable with blanket denials of climate science – particularly in places like Florida, where the process is not intellectual, but an existential threat, as the South Florida news report above indicates.
I’m not a psychologist, but I recognize evasion and diversion when I see it.
“I’m not a scientist,” Scott said when asked about anthropogenic global warming during a Tuesday stop in Miami. Scott then talked about money for flood control and Everglades restoration.
Scott’s refusal to weigh in on the issue contrasts with his position in 2011, when he said “I’ve not been convinced that there’s any man-made climate change… Nothing’s convinced me that there is.”
So is Scott repositioning himself now, believing more in man-made climate change? Scott wouldn’t say.
“I’m not a scientist,” Scott repeated, noting again his environmental record.
Scott’s new position resembles that of another top Florida Republican office holder, Sen. Marco Rubio, who has also expressed skepticism. Rubio, too, says he’s not a scientist and he won’t answer the question about whether he believes humans are causing the planet to warm.
Unlike Scott, though, Rubio hasn’t issued a blanket denial of man-made climate change and he gives a major reason for his skepticism: There has been a 15-year pause in surface-temperature readings despite an increase in carbon dioxide emissions world wide.Climate scientists, an estimated 97 percent of whom say man-made climate change is real and significant, point to data that show the oceans and the upper-level atmosphere are heating, and that the overall trend of all temperature readings in the last century are climbing.A recent national climate-change report indicated that Florida will be exceptionally vulnerable if the seas continue to rise.
Here’s the question-and-answer with Scott:
Q: Do you believe man-made climate change is significantly affecting the weather, the climate?
Scott: “Well, I’m not a scientist. But let’s talk about what we’ve done. Through our Division of Emergency Management — the last few years, three years – we put about, I think, $120 million to deal with flooding around our coast. We also put a lot of money into our natural treasures, the Everglades, trying to make sure all the water flows south. So we’re dealing with all the issues we can. But I’m not a scientist.”
Q: In 2011 or 2010, you were much more doubtful about climate change. Now you’re sounding less doubtful about man-made climate change because 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?
Scott: “Well, I’m not a scientist. But I can tell you what we’ve accomplished. We put a lot of effort into making sure that 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.”
Question (asked by citizen-activist): So do you believe in the man-made influence on climate change?
Scott: “Nice seeing you guys.”
Scott touts his support of the Everglades. Presumably he is fond of apple pie as well.
I’m not a scientist, but its hard to imagine the Everglades will fare well against the sea level rise already locked in.