Gov. Charlie Crist is going to have a tough time getting his environmental agenda pressed this year in the Legislature if this morning’s back and forth with DEP secretary Mike Sole in the House Energy and Utilities Committee is any measure. Not only are lawmakers fretting about not having enough money, there’s a pretty big ideological divide, with Crist’s fellow Republicans in the House doubting the science behind climate change. They also aren’t sure how Republican Crist’s plan is to require more fuel-efficient cars be sold in Florida.
Only Democrats defended Sole and Crist’s plans. A few excerpts:
Rep. Lake Ray, R- Jacksonville, said that he wasn’t sure about taking “scarce resources” from seniors and students for environmental program like this. “We’re about to encumber those dollars to what I sometimes wonder if it’s not fuzzy science. I haven’t heard one time about what Florida impact is on the global warming issue. What role are we playing? If were putting 25 percent emissions in the United States, what percentage of that is Florida?”
Sole: “Yes, Florida, when you look at the global amount of emissions, is a small percentage. But saying, ‘Well, we’re small, we shouldn’t do anything’ is what every other state and every other nation in the global marketplace has done. And what does that leave you? No action.”
Ray: “When I was in grade school, we were going to have an ice age. When I got out of college, we were having an ozone problem and within 2 or three years, everybody was going to have to be completely covered up. We have no ice age. We have no ozone that’s depleted to the point that we’re all having to cover up.”
Sole pointed out that cracking down on CFCs closed the Ozone hole
Rep. Dave Murzin, R-Pensacola: “How real is the climate-change phenomenon?” Sole: “Undeniably, climate change is real”
Rep. Steve Precourt, R-Orlando, talked about the “significant issues” with cap and trade in Europe, including “downright corruption.” Sole said “politics” jiggered the carbon market and made it more of a failure.
Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples: “I’m not an enormous climate-change guy.”
Rep. Kurt Kelly, R-Ocala, fretted about the “somewhat egregious” costs associated with climate-change legislation. Sole: the costs of doing nothing are greater.
Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach: “Am I hearing that we should do nothing, go backward, stand pat?.. What I’m hearing here today is people want to argue about ‘voodoo’ science…. Sure it puts a disproportionate amount of pressure on our resources when we make a commitment, but that’s what leadership is all about.”
--- Marc Caputo, Miami Herald