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Florida Gov. DeSantis signs bill removing climate change references from state law

4C Offshore | Chloe Emanuel
By: Chloe Emanuel 21/05/2024 National Public Radio

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a controversial new law that removes most references to climate change from state legislation. The law, set to take effect on July 1, significantly restructures Florida's energy policy, prioritising reduced reliance on foreign energy sources and strengthening energy infrastructure against various threats, both natural and man-made.

Key West recently faced record-high temperatures, reaching a heat index of 115 degrees, alongside smoke from wildfires in Mexico impacting parts of South Florida. Despite these extreme weather conditions, the new law signifies a shift away from climate focused initiatives.


Amy Green of Inside Climate News explains that this legislative change means Florida will no longer prioritise addressing climate change or transitioning towards renewable energy sources like wind and solar. The law also bans offshore wind development within a mile of the coastlines and nullifies previously established goals aimed at achieving 100% clean energy by 2050.


However, the ban on near-shore wind development is largely symbolic. According to industry experts, such restrictions are unlikely to impact any current or planned projects, as most wind farm solicitations are for federal waters, not near-shore areas. This move is seen as political lip service, garnering support from the NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) crowd without affecting the broader trajectory of renewable energy development in the region.


This legislative move is in line with Governor DeSantis' stance on climate issues. He has previously expressed scepticism about global warming and has instead focused on the Resilient Florida Program, which aims to prepare communities for rising sea levels and more intense storms by hardening infrastructure.


A recent survey from Florida Atlantic University reveals a disconnect between the legislation and public opinion: 90% of Floridians believe climate change is happening, compared to 72% of Americans nationwide.


The new law reflects DeSantis' broader political agenda, which includes a strong focus on energy dominance and a significant shift away from policies directly addressing climate change.



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