The state is spending big on adapting to sea level rise, but Republicans don’t want to name the cause.

by Kate Yoder, Grist

In Florida, the effects of climate change are hard to ignore, no matter your politics. It’s the hottest state — Miami spent a record 46 days above a heat index of 100 degrees last summer — and many homes and businesses are clustered along beachfront areas threatened by rising seas and hurricanes. The Republican-led legislature has responded with more than $640 million for resilience projects to adapt to coastal threats.

But the same politicians don’t seem ready to acknowledge the root cause of these problems. A bill awaiting signature from Governor Ron DeSantis, who dropped out of the Republican presidential race in January, would ban offshore wind energy, relax regulations on natural gas pipelines, and delete the majority of mentions of climate change from existing state laws.

Governor Ron DeSantis appoints Michelle Alvarez Barakat and Tanya Brinkley as judges to Miami’s Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court.

“Florida is on the front lines of the warming climate crisis, and the fact that we’re going to erase that sends the wrong message,” said Yoca Arditi-Rocha, the executive director of the CLEO Institute, a climate education and advocacy nonprofit in Florida. “It sends the message, at least to me and to a good majority of Floridians, that this is not a priority for the state.”

As climate change has been swept into the country’s culture wars, it’s created a particularly sticky situation in Florida. Republicans associate “climate change” with Democrats — and see it as a pretext for pushing a progressive agenda — so they generally try to distance themselves from the issue. When a reporter asked DeSantis what he was doing to address the climate crisis in 2021, DeSantis dodged the question, replying, “We’re not doing any left-wing stuff.” In practice, this approach has consisted of trying to manage the effects of climate change while ignoring what’s behind them.

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