Florida Drops Climate Change from Energy Policy Amid Rising Environmental Threats

Ron DeSantis

Florida is shifting its energy policy focus by removing Climate change as a priority, despite the state’s vulnerability to extreme weather events and environmental challenges. Governor Ron DeSantis signed the controversial bill on Wednesday, with changes set to take effect on July 1. This legislation eliminates most references to Climate change in state law, bans offshore wind turbines in state waters, and eases regulations on natural gas pipelines.

Supporters argue that the new law prioritizes energy affordability for Floridians, a significant concern given the rising costs associated with regulatory measures. Governor DeSantis emphasized that the bill would “keep windmills off our beaches, gas in our tanks, and China out of our state,”. He labeled Climate change policies as part of a “radical green agenda.”

However, environmental advocates claim the legislation is more symbolic than practical, potentially having minimal impact on Florida’s renewable energy trajectory. Solar energy continues to thrive in the state, while wind energy remains largely untapped due to insufficient wind conditions. Critics, like Greg Knecht of The Nature Conservancy, argue that the law contradicts public opinion, with 90% of Floridians acknowledging climate change according to a Florida Atlantic University survey.

Despite the state legislature’s financial commitments to addressing climate impacts, such as funding flood control projects and fortifying water infrastructure, the new law reduces the state’s commitment to combating climate change. It removes mandates for using climate-friendly products and meeting green lodging requirements, reflecting a broader trend of downplaying renewable energy solutions.

Raymer Maguire from the CLEO Institute voiced concerns over the legislation, highlighting the ongoing environmental threats Florida faces, such as stronger hurricanes and more frequent heat waves. The law’s focus on affordability and reliability echoes conservative viewpoints that renewable energy is neither cost-effective nor reliable, a stance Maguire sees as a step backward in recognizing the dangers of greenhouse gases.

In conclusion, Florida’s legislative shift underscores a growing divide between state policies and public concern over Climate change, emphasizing immediate energy costs over long-term environmental sustainability.

 

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