Barton Bibler, who works for Florida’s DEP (Department of Environmental Protection), actually spoke about climate change at an official meeting. He even (gasp!) kept notes of the discussion in official minutes.
In governor Rick Scott’s Florida, that’s a punishable offense. According to PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility), Bibler has said:
“If you work for the government of the state of Florida, as ruled by governor Rick Scott, you’ll be punished just for uttering the words ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change.'”
Too bad for Florida. Especially since sea level rise — one of the most prominent and obvious impacts of global warming — is already taking a heavy toll on Florida’s economy.
As AP reports, coastal cities from Jacksonville to Miami, from Key West to Pensacola, are already dealing with increased flooding, rapid erosion, and saltwater intrusion into their supply of drinking water. And it’s already costing money.
The list of other problems across the state is growing. Miami Beach is spending $400 million on new stormwater pumps to keep seawater from overwhelming an outdated sewer system.
In St. Augustine, homes built on sand dunes teeter over open space as erosion eats at the foundations. Beachside hotel owners worry about their livelihoods.
Tampa and Miami are particularly vulnerable to rising seas — many roads and bridges weren’t designed to handle higher tides, according to the National Climate Change Assessment. Officials say Daytona Beach roads, too, flood more often than in the 1990s.
The reason is clear, however much governor Rick Scott denies it: man-made global warming.
An important point to bear in mind was voiced by an engineer who is actually trying to help, but getting no help from Rick Scott’s state government. In a state at tremendous risk, if you want real information about the issue, you’ll find more on the internet than from the state Government. But then, Rick Scott’s state government isn’t a help, they’re an obstruction.
“There’s no guidance from the state or federal level. … Everything I’ve found to help I’ve gotten by searching the Internet.”
In some areas, they’re so fed up with Rick Scott’s combination of scientific ignorance and indifference to their problems that they’d rather be a different state:
South Miami passed a resolution calling for South Florida to secede from the more conservative northern half of the state so it could deal with climate change itself.
It’s going to cost even more in the future. The near future, that is:
Insurance giant Swiss Re has estimated that the economy in southeast Florida could sustain $33 billion in damage from rising seas and other climate-related damage in 2030, according to the Miami-Dade Sea Level Rise Task Force.
Despite the fact that Rick Scott is so ideologically driven that he’s willing to deny science itself while the mass of citizens of his own state are at ever-increasing risk, he still tries to maintain that he’s trying to help. But with statements like this:
In a brief interview with the AP in March, Scott wouldn’t address whether the state had a long-range plan. He cited his support for Everglades restoration and some flood-control projects as progress but said cities and counties should contact environmental and water agencies to find answers…
immediately followed by this:
… — though Scott and a GOP-led legislature have slashed billions in funding from those agencies.
I am of the opinion that Rick Scott’s claim to care about Florida’s environment, is nothing but a sham.
Meanwhile, the sea keeps rising.