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.

Miami Herald Blog:

“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.



24 Responses to “Florida Governor Waffles on Climate: “I’m not a Scientist””

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    The followup questions to “I am not a scientist” should be “Then why don’t you listen to what the scientists are telling you”?

    The answer to that would likely be some variation of “The science is not clear” or “There is a debate among scientists”—-the usual denier horsepucky, which then needs to be pursued relentlessly and knocked down point by point until the emperor has no clothes.

    “Nice seeing you guys”, my A**. Put his feet in the rising water and keep them there. Nice reporting job cy channel 10.

  2. rayduray Says:

    ““Any elected official who doesn’t understand climate change, who isn’t fully trying to plan for what people and communities are going to have to face,” he said, “shouldn’t be in elected office.” University of Miami Geology Dept. Chairman Harold Wanless

    Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/24/4136597/university-of-miami-geologist.html#storylink=cpy

    • redskylite Says:

      Well spoken Sir, what a hero, thanks for that priceless reference and quote

    • Elected officials are elected by… voters!

      They are nominated by… parties!

      I’ve never heard of any of the above vetting their prospects based even on general scientific literacy.  Dr. Wanless will have to take the matter up with them.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        It would appear that Wanless HAS taken the issue up with the voters for years, and is being heard by more and more of them. And at least one “party” pays some attention to a candidate’s general scientific literacy and stance on AGW (and it’s not E-Pot’s beloved Repugnant party, that’s why he has “never heard of it”).

        The League of Conservation Voters, EDF, NRDC, the Sierra Club, and others all have political action arms that work hard to make sure the science-ignorant fools on the right don’t get elected. LCV had some great ads during the 2013 campaign for governor here in VA that pointed out what a science illiterate KookyNelly was—-they helped defeat him.

        Dream on, E-Pot, and think about selling your B-H stock before the death of fossil fuels drags it down.

        • Always you gloss over the science-ignorant fools on the left.  Generally different areas of science, but it wasn’t me who wrote “science is not a buffet”.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            I don’t “gloss over the science ignorant fools on the left” mainly because there are so few of them in proportion to those on the right that their numbers are inconsequential. And their “causes”—-vaccines, GMO’s, nuclear power—-are not as scientifically significant and ignorant as those of the right, like “there is no AGW”, and “evolution never happened”.

            Those few on the “left” are perhaps embarrassing to the vast majority of scientists and academics who are liberal-progressive in their thought patterns (if not politics), but their causes not likely to lead to the death of all life on earth.

            And you say didn’t write “science is not a buffet”? I’m glad to hear that, because it would have been quite hypocritical of you if you had.

          • I don’t “gloss over the science ignorant fools on the left” mainly because there are so few of them in proportion to those on the right

            Oh, are there?  Then let’s talk about sociology/anthropology and epidemiology.

            AIDS is, at its root, a disease caused (or prevented) by human behavior.  Suppressing the behaviors which spread it is sufficient to make it die out (as the behaviors of the bulk of the US population would do, were they alone and separate).  But the science-ignorant fools on the left designate the behaviors of certain HIV-spreading populations as sacrosanct, above any criticism.  They have successfully demanded that HIV-treatment drugs be provided at public expense, and there is now talk of using drugs (provided at $13,000 per capita per year) to suppress the viral load of entire condom-refusing promiscuous homosexual communities.  Were those communities neither homosexual, promiscuous, nor condom-refusing, the problem would simply cease to exist.  But the ignorant fools on the left scream “HOMOPHOBE!” at any true epidemiologist, and they meekly retreat for fear that their livelihood may be at risk for speaking the truth… which it certainly is.

            Getting into the epidemiology of illegal immigrants and the diseases they carry (which are supposed to be excluded by health examinations) would take an essay of its own.

            I doubt you will find a single Democrat Senator who will speak against “gay rights”, let alone illegal immigrants.  That means that a majority of the US Senate is in denial of the science of epidemiology, and ignoring several threats to the general US population.  IMO, the lot of them should be put on trial for treason as a direct consequence of their denial/votes.

            Cue cries of “homophobe/racist/bigot!” in 3… 2… 1…

          • dumboldguy Says:

            LMAO about the “cue cries of homophobic, racist, bigoted, xenophobic anal orifice….”. No need for me to do that—-it’s self-evident in your rants, Idiot-Pot. You’re DDOF and losing yet again.

            Speaking about “threats to the population”, how about the huge numbers of Americans who have been harmed by tobacco, guns, alcohol, and the pollution and AGW caused by fossil fuels? The last one of those is even ON TOPIC for Crock.

            AIDS and your sociology-anthropology-epidemiology foolishness is not OT, and is merely more narcissistic bullshit as you attempt to convince yourself that you’re smarter than me. To paraphrase a certain well-know fool on Crock:

            “I doubt you will find a single REPUBLICAN Senator or Congressman who will speak against the harm done by the pollution and AGW caused by fossil fuels or the deaths due to guns, let alone tobacco or alcohol. That means that a majority of the US Congress is in denial of the science and morality involved in those issues, and is therefore deliberately ignoring several threats to the general US population. IMO, the lot of them should be put on trial for treason as a direct consequence of their denial/votes”.

            I would add to that—–“Once found guilty of that capital offense, they should be executed by pellet gun firing squad. Since that’s an appropriate means of death for useful and blameless squirrels, skunks, possums, raccoons, and groundhogs, it’s certainly so for the truly useless vermin, the Repugnants who are destroying the nation”.


  3. rayduray Says:

    The Beach Report (Hatteras Beach, North Carolina)

    They’re trying to wash us away…..


    2014 Hurricane season prediction for North Carolina? Probably pretty benign,considering that in the year of or preceding major El Nino events, the Atlantic was benign to North Carolina. This is not always the case:


  4. jimbills Says:

    Reminds me of Bush’s ‘I am not an economist’:

    It’s a way of misleading after wiping one’s hands of claims at authority. And these people want to be our leaders.

    • MorinMoss Says:

      It’s a real pity that he decided to prove he wasn’t an economist by presiding over the wrecking of the one he’d been handed.

      And thanks to my initial misreading of the headline for this post, I’m always going to think of Rick Scott as “Governor Waffles”.

  5. no need to be a ”scientist / climatologist” to know about the climate! I’m not a bird and cannot lay an egg, but I know when the egg is rotten. and GLOBAL warming is rotten to the bone…

  6. ubrew12 Says:

    1) $3 trillion and 25,000 American soldiers maimed or killed over ZERO WMD:
    “Hey, I’m no expert in Geopolitics!”
    2) Collapse of $9 trillion housing bubble and multi-trillion dollar derivatives bubble built on top of it that nobody even knew about :
    “Hey, I’m no expert in Finance!”
    3) Realization that without immediate Renewable Energy and Efficiency action on a threat identified 120 years ago, we are ALL pretty much scr8we -d on our Climate and Sea Level:
    “Hey, I’m no expert in Climate Science!”

    I detect a certain ‘downside’ in continually electing the terminally CLUELESS to lead this Nation…

    If you are ‘No Expert’, the public needs to stop seeing that as some kind of ‘Everyman’ Badge of Honor.

    It means you’re a Dunce. Not Robin Hood. A Fool.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Well said!

      It takes clips like this to remind us of what a dunce we handed the reins to for eight years.

      • rayduray Says:

        The reign of George Bush was envisioned in the Coolidge era by social critic and bon vivant H.L. Mencken who wrote:

        “The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre – the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Mencken was prophetic, but the plain language used by many of W’s fellow Texans appeals to me more. As they watched W generally F*** it up in his attempts to make it big in the oil business, they said of him——“All Hat, No Cattle”.

          (Let us not forget that he also crashed on a Segway, something far more “moronic” than Ford’s falling down the steps while getting off a plane).

  7. […] the calculus for some politicians, in some states. We’ll see. On display here, more of the “I don’t know, we’ll let the science boys decide” meme, with some additional wrinkles.  Some particularly ironic statements about the teaching of […]

  8. […] change that has been showing up in polling, on the streets, in political ads, and in the increasing discomfort climate deniers have been feeling about their ever more precarious […]

  9. […] I recently got a contact from a group of students at Florida International University, who had been activated by the recent King Tide event along the Florida coast to take a closer look at sea level and climate change.  Florida is one place in the United States where climate impacts are becoming increasingly an undeniable fact of life, and difficult for politicians to ignore. Current Governor Rick Scott has been singled out recently for his apparent backpedaling on the default climate denial of his base, and asserting that he can’t speak to climate, as he is “not a scientist”. […]

  10. […] the health and hydrological effects of fracking. This turns around the newest climate denial dodge, the “I’m not a scientist” meme, by taking to the obvious conclusion, since the Governor is “not a scientist”, he listens […]

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