Big plans for a greener future - but are they attainable?
A proposal has been unveiled by Nikki Fried, Florida's Agriculture Commissioner, suggesting that the state will strive for 100% of its electricity to be obtained from renewable sources by 2050.
The proposal has emerged as a result of a lengthy court battle involving dozens of young people who are part of a nonprofit - 'Our Children's Trust' - who claim that Florida is violating their constitutional rights in continuing to promote use of fossil fuels that drive climate change.
The nonprofit has been established to launch legal challenges in Florida and many other states across the U.S. which appear to be based around making existing political leaderships legally responsible for the decisions that may impact upon future generations.
The rule proposed by Fried in response to the lawsuit seeks to gradually transition Florida’s privately owned utilities to renewable energy sources, to 40 percent by 2030, 63 percent by 2035, 8 percent by 2040 and 100 percent by 2050.
Currently, over 88% of Florida's electricity comes from coal, petroleum sources and natural gas with the balance of less than 12% being renewable, green energy.
Climate change - a partisan issue?
Fried has taken up the proposal in her current role, but it would seem to be an issue that fits well given her candidacy in the state's gubernatorial election this year. Speaking on the proposal, she took the opportunity to blame Governor Ron DeSantis for his inaction over climate change.
“It’s embarrassing and it’s dangerous that our state has ignored the risk of climate change for far too long. Now, Gov. DeSantis still won’t even say those words, even while acknowledging that our state is susceptible to sea level rise.”
Fried appears to be referencing comments from Governor DeSantis from December 2021 when he announced proposed funding of $276 million over three years as part of the state's budget.
Gov. DeSantis made clear during his announcement that he wouldn't be drawn into discussions over the reasons why sea-levels are rising, why storms are increasingly prevalent and why flooding is a more regular occurrence in the state. Such events are significant signs of climate change.
"What I've found is when people start talking about things like global warming, they typically use that as a pretext to do a bunch of left-wing things that they would want to do anyways. And so, we're not doing any left-wing stuff." - Gov. Ron DeSantis
Regardless of whether Nikki Fried's proposal takes effect, it seems clear that action is needed to help Florida to respond to rising sea levels - whether the state's energy mix can be moved towards renewable sources remains to be seen.
Are you in favor of the move to renewable energy sources or do you believe that climate change is inevitable? Have you witnessed its effects in Florida in recent years? Let me know in the comments section below.