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Pamela Rivera’s Blog

Floridian's Want Action on Climate

Pamela Rivera

Posted May 27, 2014

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Growing up in Florida, I have heard the dialogue around climate change in the state change drastically. In the past couple of months, it’s become a hot topic of conversation amongst Floridians and elected officials. Many of us are worried about climate change and what it means for the future of the Sunshine State.  Recently, the New York Times reported that according to the National Climate Assessment, Florida is at ground zero for many of the worst effects of climate change in the United States. That’s why Florida needs a plan of action.

In late April, Senator Bill Nelson hosted a field hearing in Miami on sea-level rise and climate change which drew hundreds of people. That same week, Rep. Joe Garcia convened a business roundtable along with Voces Verdes to talk about the effects that extreme weather is having on South Florida’s economy.

Some of the National Climate Assessment’s most alarming findings show that “South Florida’s freshwater well field protection areas lie close to the current interface between saltwater and freshwater, which will shift inland with rising sea level, affecting water,” and “some of Florida’s top tourist attractions, including the Everglades and the Florida Keys, are threatened by sea level rise, with estimated revenue losses of $9 billion by 2025 and $40 billion by the 2050s.” El Nuevo Herald and Telemundo specifically reported on the impacts on public health, in particular that of the Hispanic community. There is no way around it: climate change is a growing concern for Floridians.

Unfortunately, Governor Rick Scott doesn’t seem to share in that concern.  In fact, when asked his plan on climate action, he simply “waved” off the question.

Evangelical Environmental Network President Mitch Hescox said on MSNBC that Evangelicals are looking to Governor Scott for a response to the issue, on the heels of the Pope’s statement. Earlier this week, Orlando Reverend Dr. Joel Hunter organized a climate session at his mega church. Regardless of religion, ethnic group, or political party – people in Florida are coming together, acknowledging that climate change is threatening communities, health, and children’s future. Along with Floridians who support climate change action, the Natural Resources Defense Council is also proud to be joining the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy in calling on Governor Scott to explain what he is going to do to protect Floridians from climate change.

On June 2, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to take on climate change and set new standards that will address the biggest source of carbon pollution: power plants, which are responsible for 40% of our nation’s dangerous carbon pollution. We limit arsenic, lead, and mercury pollution from power plants, but so far a “loophole” has allowed utility monopolies to dump unlimited amounts of dangerous carbon pollution into the air. The EPA’s proposal will close that loophole once and for all.

Thumbnail image for Pic 3.jpgFlorida can benefit from these new EPA standards if it works with the EPA and not against it. Last week, twenty local small business owners and civic leaders joined the roundtable to discuss the EPA’s efforts in making sure that these policies will empower small businesses. EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, pointed out that it was National Small Business week and that she was looking forward to working with small businesses on sustainability and energy efficiency.

Whether you’re a business owner, parent, Democrat or Republican – it doesn’t matter; Floridians will all agree that we have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and we want to preserve them. In Florida, our aquifer accounts for more than 60 percent of our drinking water, and we have an innumerable variety of wildlife. We want to protect this natural beauty for our future generations – but we can’t do it if we don’t take climate change action.

So, we want to know… what IS your plan, Governor? You can ask him too at


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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit

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