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Climate change is driving extreme weather like hurricanes. NASA/NHC

FL - John Ward: Florida officials work to thwart action on climate change

A recent change means that Florida's state government will stop contributing funds to help end human-created climate change.

On Aug. 23, Gov. Ron DeSantis, along with fellow trustees of the Florida State Board of Administration, announced that they had “passed a resolution directing the state of Florida’s fund managers to invest state funds in a manner that prioritizes the highest return on investment for Florida’s taxpayers and retirees without considering the ideological agenda of the environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) movement.”

They are “reasserting the authority of republican governance over corporate dominance and ... prioritizing the financial security of the people of Florida over whimsical notions of a utopian tomorrow.”

Unfortunately, most climate research warns not of a “utopian tomorrow,” but a dystopian one, if we fail to act.

More from John Ward:

Climate change is 'a true public health emergency,' according to medical groups

Climate change demands same kind of attention, collaboration as war in Ukraine

Don’t be a bystander, get involved in climate change fight

Florida’s state treasurer is one of nearly two dozen Republican state treasurers who, the New York Times reports, are “working to thwart climate action on state and federal levels, fighting regulations that would make clear the economic risks posed by a warming world, lobbying against climate-minded nominees to key federal posts and using the tax dollars they control to punish companies that want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”  

WUSF Public Media noted that, thanks to Gov. DeSantis and the state Legislature, “Florida law now prohibits local governments from taking ‘any action that restricts or prohibits’ energy sources used by utilities," primarily coal and oil. It also voids any such existing local policies, except in cities that own their utilities, and "prevents local officials from banning gas stations or requiring gas stations to install electric vehicle chargers.”  

Yes, Florida’s government recognizes the problems created by climate change. It has established an Office of Resiliency and Coastal Protection and awarded more than $400 million through the Resilient Florida Grant Program to help communities fight the impact of flooding and storm surge. But this assistance does nothing to address the threat of rising temperatures and the devastating weather events they create.

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