“We Lost a Decade”: Florida Repubs Start to whisper “Climate Change”..

October 16, 2019

I’m damn proud my 2014 video includes the clip from Dr. Jim White, who reveals that Florida state employees were not allowed to use the words “climate change” – about 4 months before the mainstream press looked into it.

With their heads so far into the Fox News universe, Republicans have been incapable of  acknowledging the rising seas, even as they lap around their ankles.  Agonizingly slowly, that’s changing.

Cowardly, ignorant bastards.

Miami Herald:

For the first time in a decade, a Florida Senate committee scheduled a meeting Monday to discuss the impact of climate change on the peninsula state.

What did senators learn?

“We lost a decade,’’ said Sen. Tom Lee, the Thonotosassa Republican who chairs the Committee on Infrastructure and Security.

He began the 90-minute hearing with three words that have not come from the lips of a Republican state senator in years: “Sea level rise.”

“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.”

Just as Scott set the tone for little climate talk in Florida, President Donald Trump has derided climate change, avoids uttering the phrase, and has directed his top officials to reject the science. Will the Florida Legislature be willing to talk about climate change, let alone address the issue with legislation?

“It’s a little too early to predict this,’’ Lee said. “I think reality is going to set in and, if it doesn’t, it’s going to hit us right in the face.”

According to a Pew Research Center analysis, nearly 60% of Republicans between the ages of 23 and 38 say that climate change is having an effect on the United States, and 36% believe humans are the cause. Republicans over age 52 agree with those statements at half the rate.

The committee heard from Florida experts on sea level rise, infrastructure resiliency, transportation and how South Florida governments have worked together despite the state’s intransigence.

“We have detected that sea level rise is accelerating” faster than what they had predicted in the past,’’ said Gary Mitchum, professor of marine science at the University of South Florida. By 2050, the oceans will be two feet higher along Florida’s shores.

Before that happens, however, “it’s going to get worse as the climate continues to warm.’’ Sunny-day flooding will be a constant foe, putting a demand on roads, sewers, tunnels and buildings in ways that defy current plans, he said.

Among the plans still behind the curve: the Florida Department of Transportation, which has not planned for a two-foot rise in sea level, said Will Watts, chief engineer of FDOT.

He told the committee while the agency builds bridges that can sustain 100-year storms, and builds stormwater retention ponds based on 25-year storm frequency, it is just starting to try to work toward anticipating what will happen when seas rise two feet.

Jennifer Jurado, chief resilience officer for Broward County, described how the impact is already “incredibly problematic.”

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, she said.

Mitchum, the USF professor, warned that as the air temperature warms, the air can hold more water, so hurricanes will become more frequent, rain will come in larger amounts, and inland parts of the state will continue to “have torrential rains that go on for days,’’ he said.

That will have direct impacts on storm and sewer systems, and public health — as tropical diseases become more prevalent.

He said that reducing greenhouse gas “emissions tomorrow to pre-industry levels is not going to decrease warming dramatically, but you will decrease the level of warming…

“It will take some time to turn it over but, basically, we have to start now,’’ he said.

Jurado urged the committee to remember that any conversation about sea level rise must include a stronger state focus on clean energy policy.

Republican members of the committee, however, weren’t ready to embrace the warnings.

Sen. Keith Perry, R-Alachua, asked Mitchum for data. Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Palm Coast, asked what good is it for Florida to change its policies when India and China are big producers of greenhouse gases.

“Instead of looking at just total emissions, look at it per capita,’’ Mitchum responded. He said the United States “leads by far in per capita emissions” and that is because of our inefficient use of energy, while China is “relatively new” and its power systems are “more efficient.”

Lee, a home builder from the Tampa area, said after the meeting that many of his colleagues “emotionally shut down when we have this conversation” because “they don’t know how to respond to it” and the “magnitude of costs is what’s so daunting.”

But, Lee hinted, the committee might produce legislation, although he wouldn’t elaborate on what it would include.

“I just feel it’s a duty we owe to future generations to at least have planned for this to some extent,’’ he said. “What can we do in this environment? I don’t know. But we have got to push that envelope.”


15 Responses to ““We Lost a Decade”: Florida Repubs Start to whisper “Climate Change”..”

  1. Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

    Cowardly, Ignorant Bastards! ref: GreenPerson, thumuppy mine.
    The idea of counting total emissions instead of per capita allows many excuses to twist statistics. Such as Australia ‘is too small to make a difference’, The ‘USA is reducing emissions, and India et al should stay in poverty.

  2. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    He told the committee while the agency builds bridges that can sustain 100-year storms, and builds stormwater retention ponds based on 25-year storm frequency, it is just starting to try to work toward anticipating what will happen when seas rise two feet.

    What do they think a “100-year storm” or a “25 year storm” means in 2019? Ask SE Texas. Ask North Carolina. Ask Mozambique. Ask the entire western rim of the Pacific.

    • mboli Says:

      Obama administration issued updated guidelines for federally funding infrastructure in areas at risk of flooding. Everybody knows the old 100-year-flood lines on the maps are wrong, but nobody knows where they should be. So they got a bunch of civil engineers to come up with some rules of thumb based on heights and the 100 year lines and the 500 year lines and such.

      Of course the congress reps from Florida and Texas complained mightily. The problem being that people can’t develop and sell swampland if you can’t get infrastructure.

      The Trumpists overturned the new guidelines right away.

      Effectively, the state of Florida forced the US government to pretend climate change isn’t happening when planning infrastructure projects.

  3. J4Zonian Says:

    Reactionary to English translations:

    “Lost”, as in “We lost a decade,’’ = “We threw away, for the whole world, the most crucial decade in history, and now a few of us would like to take it back”

    “paradigm shift” = “finally admitting what I knew all along, since I’ve made hundreds of thousands in that tee hee, ‘lost’ decade and can now escape the effects of what I’ve done. Screw those other monkeys.”

    “what good is it for Florida to change its policies when India and China are big producers of greenhouse gases.” = “I haven’t made quite enough for the lodge near Jasper National Park so let’s not be too hasty rejoining reality.” (By the way, the policies of the US are leading us to 4° up while India’s are leading to 2°. Guardian)

    “I think reality is going to set in and, if it doesn’t, it’s going to hit us right in the face.
    That’s a great idea: setting them in concrete up to their faces in various places in Miami Beach and letting it literally hit them in the face.

    “Cowardly, ignorant bastards.” = Almost. “Cowardly, ignorant psychopathic bastards.”

  4. dumboldguy Says:

    And the whistling past the graveyard grows ever louder….especially the whistling in the dark.

  5. doldrom Says:

    The part about hurricanes.
    I’ve understood that the central forecast is that there will be more energy going into storms and that hurricanes (and rain storms) at the top end will continue to move outside of the known ranges but not that hurricanes will necessarily become more frequent. Hurricane formation is a complicated process and guided by a lot of parameters and variability, and might even become less frequent under different parameters for atmospheric circulation.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      That’s pretty much what I remember the latest scoop on hurricanes to be. We still don’t know enough to be 100% sure, unfortunately, but the data from the past few years points the way.

      And add “childish” to “cowardly ignorant bastards”—-I cannot believe that some builders “emotionally shut down” and sat in a corner sucking their thumbs when confronted with a “conversation” about dealing with climate change.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      new video coming on Monday.
      it appears we can now say with confidence that high end storms are increasing.
      Disturbingly, we have evidence that storms like Harvey, Florence, and Dorian, with devastating “Stalling” behavior, are also becoming more frequent.

  6. indy222 Says:

    Preparations? At this point, sell your Florida house ASAP and pack your bags. Insurance will be terminated first, then the big damages begin on the poor who are, as usual, left behind. The only positive, is the images to come of Mare Lago getting washed away.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Mar-a-Lago is safe. Have you forgotten that Trump is now thought to be a GOD? He will stand there with raised arms and the coming flood will part and go around—-sort of like Moses and the Red Sea.

  7. ubrew12 Says:

    “We lost a decade” Ha. Such sweet optimism.

    • MorinMoss Says:

      It’s not ONE decade lost but FIVE – the first Earth Day was Apr 22, 1970

      • dumboldguy Says:

        I made that same point to the students at the school strike in Winchester VA. Told them that on Earth Day One we had been fighting for clean air and clean water and against acid rain and the growing ozone hole and lots of other stuff, but that we sat back a bit and let ourselves be lulled into ignoring AGW for too many years. Apologized for that (for all the good that will do).

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