Make us your home page

Crist's credentials as 'green governor' are a bit yellowed at 2nd summit

MIAMI — A year ago, Gov. Charlie Crist created headlines by announcing a bold plan to fight global warming pollution at a climate change summit. He returns here today to host the second summit with his environmental credentials in question after he joined presumed Republican presidential nominee John McCain last week in endorsing offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Even so, environmentalists are not giving up on the "green governor." Despite expressing disappointment over his reversal on offshore drilling, as well as his advocacy of nuclear energy, most state environmental leaders give him good marks overall. He has won nationwide plaudits for his climate change leadership, while also shepherding a new energy bill through the Legislature.

"I believe that Gov. Crist truly is a leader on climate change," said Melissa Meehan, a Florida-based organizer for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, which supports aggressive measures to tackle global warming. "He has changed the whole dynamic."

The summit will bring together industry leaders, policymakers, academics, scientists, environmentalists and the business community "to explore opportunities for expanding Florida's renewable and alternative energy marketplace and greening our business community," according to the Governor's Office. It will seek to highlight Crist's "there is gold in green" message, focusing on how investment in clean technologies can stimulate the state's economic development, rather than hurt it. Florida Power & Light says it will unveil a series of new solar power generation projects in South and Central Florida.

When he laid out his plan in July, Crist issued a series of executive orders designed to achieve a massive 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050, as well as "green" building codes and boosting investment in alternative energy technology. Crist called for utilities to produce at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind. He also called for adoption of California's tough vehicle-emissions standard, which mandates a 30 percent reduction by 2016.

Today, Crist is expected to sign a wide-ranging energy bill passed by the Legislature in May that will make Florida the first state in the Southeast to adopt a "cap-and-trade" system to control the gases believed to cause global warming. Dirty companies that pollute beyond their cap will be able to buy credits from other clean companies whose emissions fall below their cap.

Critics, however, say lobbyists for the power companies and car manufacturers got their way in some key areas. At the last minute, vehicle-emissions standards were dropped. The bill instead smooths the way for new nuclear power plants, which are expensive and produce radioactive waste, but have zero greenhouse gas emissions. Progress Energy and Florida Power & Light have both proposed building nuclear plants in Levy and Miami-Dade counties.

Renewable resources

To read more about alternative energy go to the Fueling Station blog at

Crist's credentials as 'green governor' are a bit yellowed at 2nd summit 06/24/08 [Last modified: Thursday, June 26, 2008 4:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Qatar Airways seeks to buy a stake in American Airlines


    NEW YORK — State-owned Qatar Airways is attempting to buy a 10 percent stake in American Airlines, triggering U.S. antitrust oversight of deals that size.

    In this file photo, a new Qatar Airways Airbus A350 approaches the gate at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany. Qatar Airways is attempting to buy a 10 percent stake in American Airlines, triggering U.S. antitrust oversight over deals of such size. 
[AP file photo]
  2. Who's best global airline? Qatar Airways takes No. 1 spot but Delta tops U.S. carriers


    The good news? Delta Airlines tops all U.S. airlines in a new Skytrax global airline passenger satisfaction survey of the world's best airlines. The bad news? At No. 32, Delta still ranks behind dozens of Middle East, Asian and some European airlines. For Tampa International Airport and the major airlines that operate …

    Southwest Airlines, the biggest carrier at Tampa International Airport, improved its customer satisfaction rating among global airlines in a recent survey.
[Times file photo]
  3. Vinoy resort will ask St. Petersburg voters to approve new parking garage (with tennis courts on top)

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club is undergoing a $50 million redevelopment and part of that plan calls for building a new one-story parking garage over eight existing tennis courts.

    The Vinoy Renaissance Resort and Golf Club is undergoing a $50 million redevelopment. The Vinoy wants to build a one-story parking garage as part of that project, in place of eight existing tennis courts. The tennis courts would be moved on top of the garage, which would hold 270 parking spots. But the Vinoy needs St. Petersburg voters to approve the project in a November referendum. This is an artists' rendering of the new garage from the street. [Courtesy of Vinoy Renaissance Resort and Golf Club]
  4. House committee passes Florida-sponsored flood insurance bill


    The House Financial Services Committee pushed through a Florida-sponsored bill intended to cut flood insurance costs. If passed, the bipartisan bill would help create a marketplace for private flood insurance.

    A House committee passed a Florida-sponsored bill meant to lower flood insurance rates.
[Times file photo]
  5. 3 new restaurants open: Deccan Spice Indian food, Farmacy Vegan Kitchen, the Cake Shop

    Food & Dining


    Deccan Spice has opened at 2325 Ulmerton Road, in what used to be the elegant and vast Grand Siam space in Feather Sound. It's getting high marks so far for its traditional Indian lunch buffet, and offers a range of southern Indian dishes (vadas and dosas and idlis, oh my) seldom seen …

    Farmacy Vegan Kitchen + Bakery serves wraps, acai bowls, smoothies and juices and plant-based baked goods like strawberry cupcakes. Photo courtesy of Charles Rumph.