Florida’s New Legislative Leaders Emphasize Coastal Resilience, Sidestepping Climate Change – Action News Jax * Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s new House Speaker and Senate President are promising to do more to strengthen the state’s coastlines in the wake of Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.

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But environmental groups argue that Republican lawmakers are leaving out 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 significant change 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” may once again become a dirty word in the Florida Republican Party.

This week, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) sidestepped using the phrase when asked about environmental groups’ call for 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 may be tied to Gov. Ron DeSandis’ rumored presidential ambitions.

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“If you want to run for President and run a Republican primary, you can’t consider yourself to have crossed over to the dark ‘woke’ left side of climate change and have to think about it in other, more Republican-friendly terms.” Binder said.

On the House side, Speaker Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) is convening a special committee on hurricane resilience and recovery.

He announced that the commission would focus on strengthening the building code and improving coastal infrastructure such as seawalls.

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“Florida is getting better and better at hurricanes, and I promise you I have great confidence and optimism that our ability as humans to innovate and build resilience will overcome whatever climate change throws our way,” Renner said.

But environmental groups like Florida Conservation Voters argue that Renner’s approach doesn’t address the root causes behind the state’s coastal woes.

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“It is not enough to react piecemeal to the elements of the climate crisis. We must address the issues by name and work proactively and holistically to address them,” FCV Executive Director Aliki Moncrief said in an emailed statement.

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