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Florida governor’s climate change denial has made state even more vulnerable to hurricanes

Irma: Florida governor’s climate change denial has made state even more vulnerable, warn experts
‘This is what happens when you build a major metropolitan area at sea level with a state government that is in denial…and supports polluters’, Independent, 
Mythili Sampathkumar New York  @MythiliSk As Hurricane Irma ominously makes its way to Florida, experts have warned that the governor’s denial of climate change makes the state’s infrastructure more vulnerable to damage.

Florida Governor Rick Scott has warned all residents to evacuate because Irma “is wider than our entire state and is expected to cause major and life-threatening impacts from coast to coast”. The state is approximately 360 miles (580 km) wide.

“We can rebuild your home, we can’t rebuild your life,” he said.
In Florida, residents install storm shutters and wooden planks in an attempt to minimise inevitable damage to homes and storefronts, but the state may not have done enough to ensure public structures are equally prepared.

Mr Scott, along with Republican Senator Marco Rubio, have dodged questions on climate change over the years.

As recently as June 2017 after Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the US from the global Paris Agreement on climate change, Mr Scott would not say whether he believed human action had an impact on climate despite scientific evidence.
Instead he focused on the President’s commitment to American jobs, saying: “You cannot invest in your environment without a good economy.”However, this attitude could result in preventable damage along the Florida coast and particularly for poorer communities in the state.

Julie McNamara, an energy analyst at the Union for Concerned Scientists, told The Independent that research done by the group indicated that electricity transformers in Miami-Dade county were at particular risk of flooding.

She said that these structures are “not required to build for the future” and so sea level rise and increasing intensity of storms are not taken into account.

State government regulations do not reflect that reality in Florida either. Ms McNamara pointed out that Florida Power and Light, a large public utility company serving almost 10 million people, has “doubled down” on nuclear power and has limited the state’s residents ability to have more resilient, renewable sources of power than nuclear plants that could also flood……

Nicole Hernandez Hammer, Climate Science and Community Advocate at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told The Independent that what Miami Beach has done is great, but those same funds are not available in lower income areas.“People [in these neighbourhoods and cities] deal with flooding frequently because of sea level rise on normal days,” so it is frightening to think what may happen with Hurricane Irma, she said……..

“This is what happens when you build a major metropolitan area at sea level with a state government that is in denial…and supports polluters,” Ms Hammer said.She has first-hand experience with Mr Scott’s aversion to even discussing climate change.

When she was assistant director of climate change research at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, Ms Hammer worked on a report regarding the state transportation infrastructure’s resilience to rising sea levels.

When her team submitted the report to the Florida Department of Transportation, the agency called to tell the team to scrub almost all mentions of the phrase “climate change,” even in the summary of the report.

“We can’t even mention the phrase but now we’re all panicking,” Ms Hammer noted…….




September 11, 2017 - Posted by | climate change, USA

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