There is a strong consensus in the scientific community that climate change is occurring and is intensified by human activities. Yet republicans remain steadfast in their denial of man-made climate change, even in the face of overwhelming evidence.
Skepticism amongst Florida politicians, one of the most vulnerable states, is especially high.
Recently, Senator Marco Rubio stated, “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it,” he continued, “And I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it. Except it will destroy our economy.”
In a more odd attempt to deny climate change, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) referenced dinosaur’s extinction as proof climate change could not have been man-made. In an interview, he stated, “But then, why did the dinosaurs go extinct? Were there men that were causing — were there cars running around at that point that were causing global warming? No. The climate has changed since Earth was created.”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) simply urges us to think of the “here and now” and not to attempt to prevent future problems stating, “…I think people remain fairly skeptical about the causes of global warming, and the solutions are pretty costly. And I think the administration should spend its time and money on very urgent pressing things that impact everyday Americans in the here and now.”
Florida Governor Rick Scott seems to have taken the stance that since he is not a scientist, he cannot speculate whether he believes in the recent scientific reports.
President Obama retorted to Governor Scott and the GOP’s “I am not a scientist” stance during his commencement speech at the University of California, saying “Let me translate,” he said. “What that means is, ‘I accept that manmade climate change is real, but if I admit it, I’ll be run out of town by a radical fringe that thinks climate science is a liberal plot… I’m not a scientist either, but we’ve got some good ones at NASA.”
While Florida legislators deny climate change the people of Florida are feeling the effects now, especially in low lying places like Tampa and Miami. Sea levels are rising and threatening infrastructure, drinking water, and lives. Possibly when Florida is nearly underwater they will take heed.
Chariese is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.