Florida meteorologist goes after DeSantis over climate change rollback

Florida meteorologist goes after DeSantis over climate change rollback

A television meteorologist in Florida slammed Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for signing a bill that will remove the requirement for the state to consider climate change when creating energy policy and roll back nearly all references to climate change in state law.

“Don’t say Climate Change! As Florida is on fire, underwater and unaffordable, our state government is rolling back climate change legislation and language,” Steve MacLaughlin, a meteorologist for NBC 6 News in Miami, wrote Saturday on the social platform X.

The post was attached to a nearly minutelong video of MacLaughlin discussing the new Florida law, which DeSantis signed last week and will take effect in July.

“On Thursday, we reported on NBC 6 News that the government of Florida was beginning to roll back really important climate change legislation and really important climate change language in spite of the fact that the state of Florida, over the last couple of years, has seen record heat, record flooding, record raining, record insurance rates and the corals are dying all around the state,” MacLaughlin said in the video.

Florida experienced its warmest year on record since 1895 in 2023, with a statewide annual average of 73.4 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the office of the state climatologist. The Sunshine State has also seen many insurers leaving, many of whom are citing high exposure to catastrophe costs.

“The world is looking to Florida to lead in climate change, and our government is saying that climate change is no longer the priority it once was,” MacLaughlin continued.

MacLaughlin joined a series of environmental leaders who lambasted the new law as disregarding the state’s environment threats.

Along with rolling back climate change considerations and language, the law also prohibits offshore wind turbines in Florida waters or the construction of offshore wind facilities within a mile of the state’s coastline. No such facilities are currently located in the state.

The law also makes the process of approving natural gas pipelines easier and excises language that allows state officials to set renewable energy goals.

DeSantis applauded the law last week, arguing it is “restoring sanity in our approach to energy and rejecting the agenda of the radical green zealots.”

MacLaughlin stopped short of pushing Florida residents to vote for specific candidates in November but suggested they “do [their] research” ahead of the election.

“Please keep in mind, the most powerful climate change solution is the one you already have in the palm of your hands: the right to vote. And we will never tell you who to vote for, but we will tell you this: We implore you to do your research and know that there are candidates that believe in climate change and that there are solutions, and there are candidates that don’t,” MacLaughlin said.

The Hill reached out to DeSantis’s office for further comment.

The Florida governor has repeatedly butted heads with environmental advocates and, while running for GOP president earlier this year, said of the Biden administration’s environmental policies, “I’m ripping it up and throwing it in the trash can where it belongs.”

He also has been against offshore drilling in Florida and opposed fracking during his first gubernatorial campaign, pointing to uncertain risks to Florida soil.

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