The State of Florida has over twelve hundred miles of coast line, much of it beautiful sandy beaches. That is very convenient for Republican Governor Rick Scott because anytime anyone mentions global warming, he looks for a place to sick his head in the sand. In that matter he is like any number of conservatives who deny global warming is occurring despite the fact vast majority of climate scientist and scientific organizations around the world have verified the phenomenon is real and is in the process of occurring now.
Global warming really is an “inconvenient truth” for conservative politicians because if they admit, based on an ever growing mountain of evidence, that it real, the next logical step is they would have to try to do something about it. Since the corporations which line their campaign coffers with money have vested interests in ensuring that nothing is done, because that would cost them money, it is easier for their pet politicians to simply deny, deny, deny. Of course that makes these politicians dangerous because, if we don’t take positive steps to start reversing the process, it may be two late. However, as Governor of Florida Scott particular danger to his state because Florida is very vulnerable to rising sea levels.
Sea levels around the world have risen 8 inches since 1880 and the rate is ever increasing. Today in Florida some 2.4 million people are living in 1.3 million homes which are within four feet of the high tide level in their local areas. This group of Florida residents is roughly half of the US population currently at risk of rising sea levels. As ocean and gulf levels continue to rise more and more Florida are venerable to storm surges cause by tropical storms. Since most of Florida sits on very porous rock, sea water is polluting more and more of Florida’s ground water, fouling drinking supplies. Some low lying Florida cities, such as St. Augustine – oldest continuously occupied city in the United Sates, are already experiencing frequent flooding at high tide.
So Florida is in the cross hairs of global climate change so one would think that the state government is in the process is actively planning how to protect its people from rising seas. Well, not really. You see if Governor Rick Scott can’t bring himself to admit that global warming is real, then he certainly isn’t willing to it is causing sea levels to rise. And since he is not willing rising sea levels are a problem, he can’t very well have state government agencies working on a problem he won’t even admit exists. So as long as Scott remains Governor, the rest of the state must join Scot with its collective head in the sand.
I recently found an article entitled “Florida coast: Sea rise threatens St. Augustine, but no statewide plan” which provides a lot of details about the Florida climate change situation. It’s a bit long, but worth the read.