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Reacting to Gov. Scott’s Alleged Climate Change Denial Directive, Group Demands Investigation

| March 20, 2015

Forecast the Facts members at today's demonstration at the Florida Capitol. (© Jim Turner / News Service of Florida)

Forecast the Facts members at today’s demonstration at the Florida Capitol. (© Jim Turner / News Service of Florida)

An environmental group wants Florida’s inspector general to check out reports of an unwritten policy prohibiting state agencies from using the terms “climate change” and “global warming.”


About a dozen members of the group Forecast the Facts, many appearing with their mouths covered by duct tape emblazoned with the words “climate change,” dropped off about 43,000 electronically signed petitions Friday with the receptionists at Gov. Rick Scott’s Capitol office.

The petitions ask the state’s inspector general to launch an investigation into whether Scott directed the Department of Environmental Protection and other state agencies to avoid certain weather-related phrases in public documents and other communications.

Scott has repeatedly denied the charge.

A spokesman for Scott’s office, while denying the allegation on Friday, said the governor is concerned with solutions to environmental issues.

On March 8, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting reported that former DEP officials claimed they had been told to avoid phrases such as “global warming” and “climate change.”


Scott evaded a question about global warming by saying he is “not a scientist.”.
 


Forecast the Facts, which focuses on people who deny climate change, also has submitted a public-records request asking for correspondence between Scott and the DEP that references “climate change” and “global warming.”

“This is our initial attempt,” said Ralph Wilson, a Florida State University graduate student and spokesman for Forecast the Facts. “If it turns out there exists no correspondence, then obviously we can naturally move on to look for other executive-branch correspondence between the office and the agency.”

The governor’s office recently told the Orlando Sentinel that Scott, who has taken flak for using a private email account for state business, has stopped using all email for official purposes. The governor’s office did not say when Scott stopped.

Scott, when pressed last year on the issue of climate change, said he is “not a scientist.”

When asked about climate change during a gubernatorial debate in October, Scott said the state is addressing rising sea levels.

“We have spent $350 million to deal with sea level rise down in the Keys. … We spent hundreds of millions dollars to deal with coral reefs. We did an historic settlement with the federal government over the Everglades. We’ve done —- we put historic money into our springs,” Scott said during the Oct. 27 debate in Jacksonville.

Scott expressed skepticism of manmade climate change during his 2010 campaign but sat down at his Cabinet office with five climate scientists from Florida during his 2014 re-election bid.

The scientists urged Scott to develop policies to offset the impact to Florida of the changing climate. Scott asked the scientists about their backgrounds and later thanked them for their time at the end of a 30-minute presentation.

The reports about word play dealing with “global warming” and “climate change” have caught the attention of at least some lawmakers.

Senators from both parties on the Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee couldn’t contain their laugher Thursday as Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, failed to get Division of Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon to utter the “climate change” phrase.

Subcommittee Chairman Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, asked Clemens what words he had used.

“I used ‘climate change,’ ” Clemens responded. “But I’m suggesting that maybe as a state we use the term ‘atmospheric re-employment.’ That might be something that the governor could get behind.”

A short time later, Koon noted that the state must have “language discussing that issue” as part of a five-year multi-hazards mitigation plan the federal government requires by 2018. Clemens quickly inquired, “What issue is that?”

“The issue you mentioned earlier,” Koon, smiling, replied.

–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida

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12 Responses for “Reacting to Gov. Scott’s Alleged Climate Change Denial Directive, Group Demands Investigation”

  1. ReduceGHGs says:

    It’s pretty bad when the policy is to ignore the evidence, to discount reality. It seems to be a republican mantra these days.

    Join the efforts to get the climate change deniers out of office. Our future generations are literally at risk.

    ExhaustingHabitability(dot)org

  2. Outsider says:

    This is yet another example of selective outrage on the left. For nearly seven years our president refuses to state the words “Islamic extremism,” and has, in fact removed any mention of it from some federal law enforcement training manuals, yet radical Islam continues to ravage a multitude of nations in the Middle East and Africa It was responsible for the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history, as well as the death of our embassador and three others in Benghazi, and a multitude of other attacks by home grown Islamic extremists, the most notable having been mislabeled as “workplace violence.” So if you are going to condemn reality denying, call it out wherever you see it, and give yourselves a little credibility as the truth police.

    • ReduceGHGs says:

      Selective outrage? Well, more of us should be outraged because too many republicans deny the reality of climate change. It’s a rejection of realty, one that puts people at risk. The worst environmental crisis we’ve ever faced that they prefer their heads in the sand. Terrorism is a threat to deal with but it doesn’t mean denial of larger problems. Maybe you would prefer we invade another needless Iraq invasion?
      The fact that it’s mostly those of us on the “left” that demand action on this issue should tell you something about the “right”.
      Ready what the experts say of climate change.
      Google: NASA Climate Change Consensus

  3. Sherry Epley says:

    WHAT? Benghazi again? What in the world does that have to do with our Florida governor dismissing massive scientific evidence of “CLIMATE CHANGE”???? Yet another typical tactic of those who prefer to deflect focus on the issue by pointing out something completely irrelevant!

    • Outsider says:

      How can you accuse one of deflecting focus when you are doing the exact same thing in your post? It just reinforces my contention that the left often suffers from selectivity in a myriad of discussions and debates. My first sentence is my point, and Benghazi was just part of my proof, and you zeroed in on that in a typical attempt to ridicule the messenger. If you want to have a discussion on Benghazi I will be happy to oblige, but you have to come to the table armed with the knowledge of what the president did to protect those people after 5:45 PM eastern time on September 11, 2012. Going to bed does not count as doing everything possible to save them, and if you have information that he did otherwise I would listen intently to it. Now, back to the point of the discussion: yes, I believe in “climate change.” The climate has been changing for five billion years. I am interested to hear you explanation as to why we suddenly went from “global warming” to “climate change” at exactly the same time it became apparent the earth stopped warming for a decade. I would also be interested in your opinion as to why Al Gore, the patrirch of global warming hysteria, arrived in Salt Lake City a few years back in a Gulfstream 2, which burns about twice as much fuel as a modern G 5. He immediately jumped into a Prius to drive the mile or so to give his global warming speech, and then promptly returned and flew off in his fuel guzzling dinosaur. The man who is running around with his hair on fire screaming the sky is warming doesn’t seem to be concerned enough to alter his own behavior, so how is anyone to take his b.s. seriously?

  4. Sherry Epley says:

    How about injecting some scientific information. This from climatepath.org:

    Fossil fuel and agriculture have drastically increased greenhouse gasses (GHG).

    “Global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed pre-industrial values determined from ice cores spanning many thousands of years. The global increases in carbon dioxide concentration are due primarily to fossil fuel use and land use change, while those of methane and nitrous oxide are primarily due to agriculture. The IPCC has a very high confidence (representing at least a 9 out of 10 chance of being correct) in this conclusion.” An IPCC chart showing the increase in these gasses is available here.

    The radiant forces of increased GHG is warming the planet.

    “A warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level. At continental, regional and ocean basin scales, numerous long-term changes in climate have been observed. These include changes in arctic temperatures and ice, widespread changes in precipitation amounts, ocean salinity, wind patterns and aspects of extreme weather including droughts,heavy precipitation, heat waves and the intensity of tropical cyclones. Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns.” An IPCC chart showing the impact on pact on temperature is available here.

    This warming will continue, and accelerate if we do not take action.

    “For the next two decades, a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of emission scenarios. Even if the concentrations of all greenhouse gases and aerosols had been kept constant at year 2000 levels, a further warming of about 0.1°C per decade would be expected Continued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century.” An IPCC chart showing the forecasts is available here.

  5. What's Happening says:

    Oh, heavens, mustn’t listen to scientists who, for example, reiterate saltwater extrusion in south Florida (google it, it’s frightening) as one of a myraid examples of the havoc climate change is wreaking on our environment. Everyone knows it’s more important to bash The Left.

    • Outsider says:

      Saltwater intrusion is caused by pumping fresh water out of the ground and it is replaced with salt water. It is a direct result of population growth, not climate change.

  6. Derrick R. says:

    You all tout the same BS. But keep adding to the alleged problem. Then you expect this Government whether it be local state or federal to make it right. Hey news flash their are many countries some bigger that this one who could care more and will do nothing to stop cows from farting their scooters from polluting their raping of the environment for their own needs. Go ahead getbom your bikes and pedal on over hug that tree and plant another the way the clown in charge now is running the circus there will be no planet left in 100 yrs..

  7. Sherry Epley says:

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could leave out the angry, emotional “name calling” and have an intelligent discussion about such important matters for us all?

    It is unreasonable to expect the citizens of each country or state to be exactly equal in the protection of our environment. However, I have traveled extensively to other countries and have witnessed such things as solar powered hot water heaters on the roofs of houses in the poorer townships of South Africa, rows of high tech wind mills and fields of solar cells all over Europe, recycling plastic bottles and cartons into jewelry and art pieces, clean air and water projects in many countries. . . etc. etc.

    A cleaner, healthier planet begins with each one of us!

    Although I am coming into the last phase of this life, I feel a great responsibility for the future of our world.

    I recycle extensively, often walk instead of driving, proudly support public transportation, cleaner water and air initiatives and legislation, and yes, plant trees. . . DO YOU? If not, why not?

  8. Lancer says:

    First…there is a great deal of skepticism and, rightly so, of “man made global warming”. There are some very real counter points about data collection and data input that has called its validity into question.

    Second…there is also a great deal of skepticism of how these protocols are legislated and enforced. The USA has been at the fore front of legislation and enforcement. However, Russia and China have done little or nothing…and their consumption is only increasing.

    It does our country no good to put unnecessary hand cuffs on our economy…while Russia and China continue unabated and being huge irresponsible in this matter. I believe in conservation, as matter of doing the right thing, but the Kyoto Protocols, had they been enacted, were insane.

    There is most certainly a cult of global climatists who, I have found, are rabidly anti-capitalist and, supremely socialist…it’s where they went after the great communist experiment failed.

  9. Sherry Epley says:

    For the edification of all the climate change deniers this from the “cult” Nasa:

    http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

    I have “personally” seen the very rapid shrinking of glaciers in Canada and Alaska. Just because other countries do not protect the earth’s environment does not mean we should DO NOTHING ourselves. Why not lead by example? Why not do the GOOD thing even when others are doing BAD?

    Yours Very Truly,
    The Proud Tree Hugger, Progressive, Positive, Inclusive, Open Minded, Educated, Peace Loving, Liberated, Hard Working, Humanitarian, Woman!

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