Florida Has Gone Backwards in Climate Change – Why?

Are you worried about how Florida is handling climate change? You should be. Despite being one of the most vulnerable states to climate impacts, recent actions suggest Florida is taking steps backward. Here’s why.

1. Overhaul of State Energy Laws

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Florida lawmakers are moving to eliminate references to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from state energy laws. This includes banning offshore wind-energy generation, directly counteracting efforts to transition to renewable energy sources.

2. Increased Fossil Fuel Dependence

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Despite the global push for renewable energy, Florida has doubled down on fossil fuels. The state’s energy policies continue to favor natural gas and oil over wind and solar power.

3. Weak Environmental Regulations

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Governor Ron DeSantis has signed multiple bills that favor developers and the fossil fuel industry. These include blocking local governments from imposing stricter environmental regulations and reducing protections for wetlands and waterways.

4. Red Tide and Algae Blooms

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Florida’s coastal waters have suffered from severe red tide and toxic algae blooms, worsened by agricultural runoff and lax regulations on pollutants. These environmental crises have led to massive fish kills and health warnings for residents and tourists.

5. Reduced Climate Change References

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Recent legislative sessions have seen efforts to scrub mentions of climate change from official documents and plans. This denial and avoidance hinder comprehensive climate action and public awareness.

6. Lack of Support for Clean Energy

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Proposals to expand renewable energy infrastructure, like solar farms, often face significant resistance and underfunding. Local clean energy initiatives struggle to gain traction without state support.

7. Water Management Failures

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Florida’s water management strategies have not kept pace with the increasing demands and climate impacts, leading to water shortages and degraded water quality in many areas.

8. Coastal Development

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Continued development along the coastlines increases vulnerability to hurricanes and sea-level rise. Policies often favor economic gain over environmental sustainability, putting more people and properties at risk.

9. Everglades Restoration Delays

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While there has been some funding for Everglades restoration, progress has been slow. The project is essential for water quality and ecosystem health, but bureaucratic delays and insufficient funding continue to hamper efforts.

10. Inadequate Hurricane Preparedness

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Despite frequent and severe hurricanes, Florida’s infrastructure and emergency response systems remain underfunded and underprepared for future storms intensified by climate change.

11. Legislative Inaction

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The state legislature frequently blocks or delays bills aimed at addressing climate change, from reducing carbon emissions to protecting vulnerable communities.

12. Rollback of Local Environmental Policies

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The state government has preempted local environmental policies, preventing cities and counties from enacting stricter climate and energy regulations tailored to their specific needs.

13. Increased Flooding

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Flooding is becoming more frequent and severe in Florida, yet there is insufficient investment in flood mitigation infrastructure. Efforts to address this are often piecemeal and reactive rather than proactive.

14. Insurance Crisis

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The increasing risk of climate-related disasters has led to an insurance crisis in Florida, with premiums skyrocketing and coverage becoming harder to obtain, particularly in coastal areas.

15. Minimal Public Transit Investment

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Investment in public transportation, which could reduce greenhouse gas emissions, remains minimal. The state continues to prioritize highway expansions over sustainable transit solutions.

16. Legislative Protection for Polluters

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New legislation often includes provisions that protect industrial polluters from stringent regulatory oversight, undermining environmental enforcement efforts.

17. Weakening of Protected Areas

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Protected areas and wildlife corridors face threats from development and weakened regulations, impacting biodiversity and ecosystem resilience.

18. Public Misinformation

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There is a significant lack of public education on climate change in Florida. This gap in knowledge affects public opinion and reduces the pressure on policymakers to take meaningful action.

19. Agricultural Impact

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Agricultural practices contribute significantly to pollution and water quality issues, yet there is little effort to regulate or reform these practices in an environmentally sustainable way.

20. Property Value Decline

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Sea level rise and increased flooding are already leading to a decline in property values in coastal areas, affecting the state’s economy and housing market.

21. Neglect of Climate Science

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The state government’s reluctance to fully embrace climate science and incorporate it into policy-making leads to inadequate and misguided strategies for dealing with climate impacts.

The Harsh Reality

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Florida’s current trajectory on climate issues is worrying. If you’re living in or have ties to the state, it’s time to recognize these backward steps and advocate for change. The policies being enacted today will shape the Florida of tomorrow—for better or for worse.

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The post 21 Ways Florida Has Gone Backwards in Climate Change appeared on EcoHugo.

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For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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