15 Florida mayors ask Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush to meet on climate change

  • Published on January 27th, 2016

By Meteor Blades

South Florida is already feeling the effects of sea level rise, and it’s only going to get worse. Florida, of all states, is the most vulnerable to climate change - and the most invested in making it happen Based on what scientists are seeing in Greenland, the Arctic Ocean and Antarctica, things could get worse a lot sooner than previously thought.

Fifteen south Florida mayors have sent letters to Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush requesting to meet with them to discuss climate change. The positions are ostensibly non-partisan, but most of the mayors are Democrats, with the exception of Tomás Regalado of Miami and Jim Cason of Coral Gables. Regalado even supports Rubio for the GOP nomination.

In the letters, the mayors wrote:

Our cities and towns are already coping with the impacts of climate change today.

We will need leadership and concrete solutions from our next president. As a candidate for that office hailing from Florida, we ask you to meet with us to discuss the future of our communities in a warming climate.

We are already experiencing the effects of a changing climate. Sea levels off the coast of South Florida rose about eight inches in the twentieth century. As a result, we have seen more tidal flooding, more severe storm surges, and more saltwater intrusion into aquifers.

By 2050, mean sea level around Florida is expected to rise about a foot, a shift which could wipe out as much as $4 billion in taxable real estate in the four-county region of Southeast Florida. At three feet of sea level rise, the loss could total $31 billion, with large sections of the Everglades, the Florida Keys and the Miami metropolitan region under water.

What they said is backed up by the Florida Oceans and Coastal Council’s 2010 report, “Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise in Florida.”

Getting either the senator or the former governor to take the requested discussion seriously will be tough since neither of them thinks climate change is a priority, and each says that regulations curbing greenhouse emissions should be nixed because they will kill jobs. They never take note of how many jobs clean energy will generate.

Rubio is by far the worse of the two:

  • marco rubio by donkeyhoteyHe thinks no government action should be taken to deal with climate change.
  • He thinks the Paris climate talks should have been transformed into a conference about fighting ISIS.
  • He says natural gas is “very carbon free.”
  • He says environmentalists are “radicals” and the reason “you can’t build a nuclear power plant” in the United States.

That must be a surprise to the people who have been building two nukes in South Carolina and two in Georgia—all four way behind schedule, and way over budget.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush is more weaselly. Like Rubio, he says the climate is always changing, jeb bush by donkeyhoteybut adds that research doesn’t show humans are causing the change, and that people who say otherwise are “arrogant.” He argues that the lowering of U.S. carbon emissions over the past few years is not due to federal policies but rather to “American ingenuity.”

In fact, as anybody with half a brain knows by now, scientific research clearly shows humans are causing climate change. And, while it’s true that ingenuity has given us big green energy advances, federal policies have driven greener transportation, better efficiency, and growth in renewable sources of energy.

Mayor Stoddard signed on to the letter, but not very optimistically.

“We know that climate change will be a disaster for South Florida, but the speed and scale of the disaster will depend on how quickly we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Philip Stoddard, mayor of South Miami. “We are doing what we can at the local level, but the big changes have to come from our elected leaders at the national level. We are still waiting to see that thoughtful leadership from Senator Rubio, but to our considerable dismay, he is running in the exact wrong direction, proposing new ways to thwart the Clean Power Plan.”

(Originally appeared at DailyKos. Creative Commons images by DonkeyHotey.)

About the Author

Meteor Blades is a writer and contributing editor at DailyKos. He believes there is something profoundly wrong with our system. - the unchecked accumulation of wealth and power into the hands of a very small group of corporate business interests has contributed to the wholesale corruption of our political system. For an understanding about the level of corruption in our country, he encourages you to view these two PBS documentaries: (1). ,The Untouchables; (2) The United States of ALEC.