Florida’s New Legislative Leaders Emphasize Coastal Resilience, Avoid Climate Change – Action News Jax
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s new Speaker of the House and President of the Senate are promising to do more to fortify the state’s shores in the wake of the two-punch of Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.
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But environmental groups argue that Republican lawmakers are missing a key piece of the puzzle: climate change.
When Governor Ron DeSantis took office, he was praised for using the term climate change.
It was a major departure from the Rick Scott administration, which refused to use the term at all.
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But now there are signs that “climate change” could once again become a dirty word within the Florida Republican Party.
This week, Senate Speaker Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) avoided using that phrase when asked about environmental groups’ call for the convening of a special committee on climate change.
“It doesn’t matter what you call it. We call it resilience. You know, it’s just another one of those things where there are all kinds of terms,” Passidomo said.
UNF political science professor Dr. Michael Binder said the choice of words could be tied to rumors of Governor Ron DeSantis’ presidential ambitions.
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“If you want to run for president and navigate a Republican primary, you can’t be considered to have moved to the ‘woke’ dark left side of climate change and you have to think of it in other, more Republican-friendly terms” , says Binder.
On the House side, Speaker Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) is convening a special committee on hurricane resilience and recovery.
He announced that the committee would focus on strengthening the building code and improving coastal infrastructure like seawalls.
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“Florida is getting better and better in the face of hurricanes, and I promise you I have great confidence and optimism that our ability as people to innovate and build resilience will exceed anything. climate change is sending us,” Renner said.
But environmental groups like Florida Conservation Voters argue that Renner’s approach fails to address the root causes of the state’s coastal problems.
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“It is not enough to react piecemeal to the elements of the climate crisis. We must call the issues by name and work proactively and holistically to address them,” FCV Executive Director Aliki Moncrief said in an emailed statement.