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Environmental Group Calls For Climate Change Committee

November 19th, 2020 by Jake Stofan

A conservation advocacy group is calling on the new legislative leadership to create committees dedicated to battling climate change.

While the House Speaker and Senate President have both spoken out about the need to mitigate the effects of climate change, activists argue they’re not focusing on the underlying causes creating climate change.

The House Speaker and Senate President authored an op ed earlier this year, focused on the need to protect coastal communities from sea level rise.

The Speaker made similar comments during his speech Tuesday

“We need to bring the same long range planning and strategic discipline to our environmental programs that we bring to our transportation work plan,” said House Speaker Chris Sprowls.

But environmental groups argue mitigation is only part of the puzzle.

“The talk so far is about addressing the symptoms of the problem and not addressing the underlying illness,” said Aliki Moncrief, Executive Director of Florida Conservation Voters.

In a letter sent to both legislative leaders earlier this week, Florida Conservation Voters called for the establishment of climate change committees.

“To talk about what climate solutions are available,” said Moncrief.

Democratic State Representative Anna Eskamani sees potential for such committees to help address some pandemic related issues like unemployment.

“Prioritization and investment in both energy efficiency and renewable energy production are two opportunities to retrain unemployed people and get them rapidly rehired,” said Eskamani.

This is the second year Florida Conservation Voters have called for a climate change committee.

They didn’t get one last year and so far they haven’t gotten a response this time around either.

How much lawmakers will be able to accomplish on the climate change front is up in the air.

The Legislature will be looking to cut the state budget by as much as $5 billion next year, and in the leaders’ op ed on sea level rise there is an emphasis on ‘cost effective’ solutions.

In his first speech as House Speaker, Rep Chris Sprowls suggested the state deemphasize land acquisition in its conservation plans and instead put more resources into beach re-nourishment, septic tank conversions and flood mitigation.

Florida Conservation Voters argues land acquisition plays a key role in flood mitigation strategies.

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