In southern Florida, sea levels are rising and Miami Beach is in danger of becoming a bathtub. Flooding becomes more extreme every year, and four Florida counties have joined together to redesign their cities’ infrastructure. Yet Governor Rick Scott remains a staid climate denier.
In 2010, Scott’s position was unequivocal. He had “not been convinced that there’s any man-made climate change.” More recently, Scott has deflected the question by saying he’s “not a scientist.”
Ten scientists in Florida heard that as a cry for help.
On Tuesday, scientists from the University of Miami, Florida State University, the Galbraith Marine Science Laboratory and Florida International University – among others – issued a two-page letter to Governor Rick Scott, offering to educate him.
“We note you have been asked several times about how, as Governor, you will handle the issue of climate change,” the scientists wrote. “You responded that you are ‘not a scientist.’ We are scientists and we would like the opportunity to explain what is at stake for our state.”
The letter was hand-delivered by Jeff Chanton, a professor of oceanography at Florida State University. “This is not a ‘save the earth’ message,” he said. “This is about the continued comfort and amiability of civilization, or human beings.”
“Those of us signing this letter have spent hundreds of years combined studying this problem,” the letter continues, “not from any partisan political perspective, but as scientists — seekers of evidence and explanations.”
Climate change is likely to be a major issue in Florida’s upcoming gubernatorial election. Tom Steyer’s super pac, NextGen Climate, confirms that Florida is one of seven states it will be investing in. Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers’ pac, has pledged over $3 million on “statewide education efforts” during the election.
The full text of the letter is available on the Tampa Bay Times.