Climate change poised to be key issue in 2024 election

Gov. Ron DeSantis tweets about his environmental accomplishments in Florida
Posted at 6:41 PM, May 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-31 18:41:21-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — As the Atlantic hurricane season begins, the changing climate's effect on storms is on the minds of scientists.

"The rate of climate warming now is faster than it's ever been," Bob Bunting, the CEO of the Climate Adaptation Center in Sarasota, said.

Bunting said his organization tries to work with policymakers in Florida to think about climate and countering the effects such as rising seas and rapidly intensifying hurricanes.

Bob Bunting speaks about how climate change is impacting Florida.
Bob Bunting speaks about how climate change is impacting Florida.

"The climate center is trying to change it from a this or that discussion to a probability discussion," he said. "We have a high probability of climate impacts in Florida, and if we don't deal with the impacts, the state is going to suffer the consequences."

Last year, Hurricane Ian on Florida's west coast caused 152 deaths and is estimated to have left $113 billion in damage.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis earned praise for his response to Hurricane Ian but also criticism for his absence after the catastrophic flooding this year in Fort Lauderdale.

DeSantis tweeted Wednesday about his environmental accomplishments in Florida, which have largely with water conservation.

The governor has also publicly refused to politicize weather, as he has described it, while Democrats have seized on the issue.

"There's a movement these days to take away the name climate change and find something else," Republican strategist and international businessman Larry Casey of Palm Beach County said.

Overall, Casey said the climate issue is not at the forefront for many Republican candidates.

"Some policy has to be clear that encompasses business interest, environmentalist interest, American interest," Casey said.