Talking About Climate Change Banned in Florida?

There’s a common rule of thumb in the news business that if you hear a story that sounds too good or too ridiculously weird to be true, it’s probably from Florida. This is true of stories about politics, it’s true of stories about sports, and it’s most definitely true of stories about crime. But it’s also true of stories about climate policy.

Case in point: the shocking new report from the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting (FCIR). According to that report, officials working for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, or DEP, “have been ordered not to use the terms ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’ in any official communications, emails, or reports.

That’s right - the Florida agency most responsible for fighting climate is banned from talking about climate change!

This insane policy apparently started in 2011 when Republican Medicaid scam artist Rick Scott took office as governor, and, according to the FCIR, it’s had a real impact on the DEP’s ability to prepare for the coming climate disaster.

Now, while banning environmental officials from talking about the most important environmental issue of our time is bad policy for any state, for Florida, it’s downright suicidal. All apologies to LeBron, but in the future no one will take their talents to South Beach because South Beach won’t exist.

Florida is ground zero for global warming here in America, and if global warming keeps up its current breakneck pace, much of Florida's coastline will simply disappear.

This is what the federal government’s top climate scientists think the Sunshine State will look like under three feet of sea level rise.

Scary? You bet, which only goes to show how ridiculous Rick Scott’s don’t-say-anything policy about global warming really is.

His state is facing environmental catastrophe on a level we haven’t seen in centuries, and, presumably to keep oil barons like the Koch brothers happy, his administration has decided to ban Florida officials from even talking about it.

This is, in a nutshell, everything that’s wrong with the Republican Party.Republicans can try as hard as they want to stop being what Bobby Jindal called the “stupid party,” but when it comes to climate policy, they are about as stupid as it gets.

Just the other day, for example, Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe - the chair of the Senate Environment Committee, for God’s sake - tossed a snowball on the Senate floor to try to prove that global warming is all one big hoax cooked up by greedy scientists looking for grant money (I’m not making this up, by the way, that’s what Jim Inhofe actually believes).

But here’s the thing about Republican stupidity when it comes to climate change: it’s calculated stupidity.

Sure, there are probably a few boneheads out there who actually believe that emissions standards are the next step towards a U.N. takeover of American democracy, but in the end, all the nonsense coming from the Rick Scotts and the Jim Inhofes of the world is about one thing and one thing alone: protecting the power of the fossil fuel industry. And that power, of course, stems from the fact that unlike every other industry in the world, Big Oil doesn’t have to pay to clean up its own trash.

Instead, it passes on the costs of that waste (carbon pollution) to everyone else in the form of what economists call "negative externalities," which include things like the costs of cleaning up from climate-change driven severe weather events, and the costs of pollution-related health problems. Because the fossil fuel industry can dump its waste on the rest of the world without ever having to pay a dime, its business costs are artificially low and its profits are artificially high.

This free ride is the payoff the fossil fuel industry gets from throwing billions and billions of dollars at Republican politicians every year, and it’s the main reason why the industry is so scared of anyone who tries to take action on climate change.

So remember this next time you read a story about some Republican saying something stupid about climate change. This is really all about the money, and as long as they keep raking in the campaign donations from Big Oil, Republican politicians will do everything they can to protect their donors’ interests, even that means making giant fools of themselves in the process.


stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 9 years 15 weeks ago

Let those Florida ostriches bury their heads in the makes it so much easier to bite them in their asses.

And Mother Nature will.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 9 years 15 weeks ago

Rick Scott's experience overseeing the largest Medicare/Medicaid fraud in the nation's history makes him the perfect candidate to cover up the inevitability of the biggest coastal real estate disaster in the nation's history. Did Floriduh really vote Scott back in?.....Doubt it, I'm sure Crist won, but hey, it's also the state with the biggest election fraud in the nation's history.

ChicagoMatt 9 years 15 weeks ago

I'm on a mission to cheer up Thom and the ever-depressing and depressed Progressives. So here is a list of the bright sides of global warming:

One highlight:

- The land that is submerged in Florida will be more than made up for with land that is freed from ice in Northern Canada and Siberia.

Another highlight:

People won't have to move South when they retire, to enjoy warm weather.

My personal favorite:

Sub-tropical crops won't be limited to today's sub-tropics. Just imagine, going to your backyard in, say, St. Louis, and picking fresh oranges, bananas, pineapple, etc... every morning.

Kend's picture
Kend 9 years 15 weeks ago

Matt. I have mention almost all of those many times here. As a Canadian. Global warming, oops sorry climate change would be a good thing for Canada, Russia and China. Not so good for the Middle East. But I can't get too excited because most scientists are only talking about a one degree increase over the next 50 to 100 years. Not much will change if that's the case.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 9 years 15 weeks ago

Scott is the perfect example of the ambitious thief using political office to further his dark obsessions, especially by stealth, and without force or violence.

bobbler's picture
bobbler 9 years 15 weeks ago

Kend, climate change has the potential to extinguish all life on earth. More likely famine , then war for food will kill millions. Does someone pay you to troll liberal message boards?

PFNELKAK 9 years 15 weeks ago

Whose the next fool? If N.J. voters vote Christy into office again, they will surpass Florida. N.J. has a $9bn lawsuit against big oil co. for spilling oil. Christy settles for $250mn to pay off N.J. debt. So who gets stuck with the clean up bill?
we the people

PFNELKAK 9 years 15 weeks ago

Sorry Thom. LeBron left Florida and went back to Cleveland. He saw it coming and didn't want to get his sneakers wet.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 9 years 15 weeks ago

Kend, whether Canada benefits will depend on the change. Simple warming would be good, but expect some chaos before things settle into a new climate paradigm.

And keep in mind that global warming and climate change are not the same thing. Global warming is the slight rise in average temperature caused by too much carbon in the air. There's a reason it's not called global heating--it's not a drastic change in itself. Climate change, caused by the global warming, is the set of drastic changes, which will vary from place to place, due to redirection of the flows of heat and moisture. Some places will get warmer, some colder, some wetter, some drier.

telliottmbamsc's picture
telliottmbamsc 9 years 15 weeks ago

Florida, North Carolina, Louisiana and Tennessee all ban Climate Change.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 9 years 15 weeks ago

Sen. Tom Cotton is quite disturbing. He doesn't even understand the American principle against guilt by association. A person should not be punished simply because they are related to, or know, someone that violated a law. That is Old Testament barbarism.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 9 years 15 weeks ago

To caller Lars, who doesn't want to vote because criminal Republican officials never get prosecuted:

Despair is not an option.

You don't solve problems by giving up or abdicating your power or being less involved.

HeyHey62's picture
HeyHey62 9 years 15 weeks ago

Since Hilary Clinton is going to back and protect wallstreet just like obama, isn't it time for real change? We need a roosevelt not another yes man to big oil and big business. We should be backing bernie sanders for president in 2016. someone who wants real change and actually cares about the average working class american. hes our only real hope for change.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 9 years 15 weeks ago

I wish there were a like button for you, HeyHey62.

Legend 9 years 15 weeks ago

Rush Limbaugh's home in Palm Beach will be underwater. Is there anything better?

PFNELKAK 9 years 15 weeks ago


PaulHosse's picture
PaulHosse 9 years 15 weeks ago

They can "ban" whatever they want to. People will talk about what they want when they want and where they want. The government can keep up with public opinion or get out of the way; just like the corporate new media isn't supposed to use terms like "Illegal immigrantion" or "illegal alien", people still use the terms and will continue to do so because it is the proper and most accurate terms to use.

Despite the Orwellian doublespeak, "PC" phrases the corporate media wants to use to destigmatize or soften the images such as claiming they aren't "undocumented". They have lots of personal documentation, it's just not acceptable in the US and since they have have no US documention, they are here illegally.

Attempts by the government or corporate media to control topics like climate changes, bailouts, Benghazi, or illegal immigartion, through control of the language will fail becuase there are still a few Americans who refuse to conform and will think--and speak---for themselves.

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 9 years 15 weeks ago
Quote Legend:Rush Limbaugh's home in Palm Beach will be underwater. Is there anything better?

Yes, there is, but only if Limbaugh is in his house when it goes under.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 9 years 15 weeks ago

There's no such thing as Orwellian doublespeak. in 1984, there was doublethink, and there was Newspeak. But there is an older concept called double talk.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 15 weeks ago

To see a classic example of climate ignorance and climate denial, one need only read post #4. This is what a fossil fuel toady sounds like.

Far as Florida is concerned, this is looking like a climate karma. They will pay the ultimate price for their stupidity.

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