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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Florida governor Rick Scott (R) ripped a page from Senator Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) science-denying playbook on Tuesday, when he dodged a question on climate change by insisting “I’m not a scientist.”

As Marc Caputo reports in The Miami Herald, the latest example of Scott’s climate-change trutherism came during a question-and-answer session in Miami:

Q: Do you believe man-made climate change is significantly affecting the weather, the climate?

Scott: “Well, I’m not a scientist. But let’s talk about what we’ve done. Through our Division of Emergency Management — the last few years, three years – we put about, I think, $120 million to deal with flooding around our coast. We also put a lot of money into our natural treasures, the Everglades, trying to make sure all the water flows south. So we’re dealing with all the issues we can. But I’m not a scientist.”

Q: In 2011 or 2010, you were much more doubtful about climate change. Now you’re sounding less doubtful about man-made climate change because now you’re not saying ‘Look, I doubt the science.’ Now you’re saying: ‘I’m not a scientist.’ Am I right in guessing that?

Scott: “Well, I’m not a scientist. But I can tell you what we’ve accomplished. We put a lot of effort into making sure that we take care of our natural treasures – the Everglades, making sure water flows south, any flooding around our coast. So we’re doing the right thing.”

Question (asked by citizen-activist): So do you believe in the man-made influence on climate change?

Scott: “Nice seeing you guys.”

The governor’s dodge is a rather weak case for refusing to fully confront Florida’s looming environmental crisis. After all, Scott is also not an expert in election law, but that didn’t stop him from illegally attempting to purge Florida’s voter rolls.

If Scott is interested in the opinion of actual scientists on the matter, however, they have been very clear that the climate is warming, likely due to human activities.

Scott’s response is nearly a carbon copy of the one offered by Senator Rubio in 2012, when he infamously responded to a question on the age of the Earth by telling GQ reporter Michael Hainey “I’m not a scientist, man.” Rubio has since devolved on the issue, going from refusing to engage with science to flatly denying it.

Scott’s has moved in the opposite direction. Although he now refuses to discuss science, during his first gubernatorial campaign in 2010 Scott proudly stated that he does not believe in climate change.

The governor’s attempt to sidestep questions on the topic will likely resurface during his re-election campaign. Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer has named Scott as one of the top targets of his $100 million campaign to boot climate-change truthers from office in November, and Scott’s awkward answer seems tailor-made for an attack ad.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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  • Lynda Groom

    Translation: Blah, blah and blah….and I’m not a scientist. Does that clear everything up for ya!

  • jointerjohn

    Isn’t it curious that these guys are so quick to disclaim being scientists yet they claim to know that human life begins at conception, that women’s metabolisms have the ability to deny fertilization of the egg in the case of rape, that geological fracking does no lasting harm, and that dinosaurs walked the earth along with humans about 6000 years ago? Like everything else about these disingenuous creeps, they want to pick and choose.

    • Allan Richardson

      And the “cost” of encouraging transition to clean energy 10-15 YEARS AGO would have been MUCH LESS than the cost of all these flood control products! And that “cost” could have been paid for by DROPPING OIL SUBSIDIES.

  • Independent1

    Claiming not to be a scientist is just one more way for Scott to deny the presence of global warming. Given the size of the Florida coast and the Everglades itself, spending 120 million in efforts to mitigate the effects of sea level rise is nothing more than ‘wishful thinking’, like throwing a few cents into the Trevi Fountain. And apparently the 120 million Florida is supposedly spending (according to Scott), that money must not be making a dent in the efforts really need to address the problems of sea rise, because 4 Florida counties have taken it upon themselves to be more pro-active in addressing the sea rise problem.

    Here are some excerpts from a recent article in ThinkProgress on 4 south Florida counties doing just that:

    But 2010 was also the year that the four Florida counties — Monroe, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward — joined together to take addressing sea level rise into their own hands. The counties are working to get the state to pay attention to sea level rise, but until it does, South Florida is wasting no time in finding solutions.

    “What I think people are missing is the story of the compact and what people are actually doing,” said Steve Adams, Director of the U.S. Climate Adaptation Program at the Institute for Sustainable Communities and a native Floridian who helped develop the idea for the compact. “Particularly at a moment when we’re all watching Congress with great dismay — we feel like we’re ungovernable at the federal level — we’re seeing this moment a group of local state and federal agency staff able to work together in a remarkably powerful way. The partisan differences in South Florida just don’t much matter.”

    Working to adapt a region to some truly dire sea level rise predictions hasn’t been easy, but the compact members are committed to doing what they can to save their region.

    “While we do have a daunting threat facing us, we aren’t throwing up our hands and running away or sticking our heads in the sand,” Nichole Hefty, sustainability director of Miami-Dade county said. “We’re doing something about it.”

    Here’s a link to the full ThinkProgress article on what the 4 counties in Florida are doing to combat sea level rise:–emailfield..syntax–recipientid~~&elqCampaignId=~~eloqua..type–campaign..campaignid–0..fieldname–id~~

    And to provide a pictorial of what GOP politicians are doing with respect to climate change, below is an image of a sculpture that’s been created to represent their “heads under the water” mindset:

    And the link to the DailyKos article on the sculpture:

    The title for the sculpture is: “Politicians Debating Global Warming”

  • kanawah

    He is not a scientist, but he should be a convict in the state penitentiary.

  • JDavidS

    There are a great many things Scott “isn’t”… Competent comes to mind.

  • dana becker

    He’s an expert at being corrupt. He is pretty good at being a big thief and buying his way out of prison. He is pretty good at being the worst Gov. ever. Voldermort.

  • howa4x

    Well this just proves that the climate is changing faster than the Red state governors. Christie denied it after super storm Sandy tore a path along the cost that we are still not recovering from. The truth is the GOP is now the Grand old Petroleum party whose members owe their allegiance to them instead of the people they represent. Considering the Koch Bros are major contributors to greenhouse gases it is no wonder the rank and file republicans deny it. Otherwise no money from the real uncle sugars in politics. But have no fear costal governors are the targets of future super storms, so let’s see how long they ape the Koch bros line that climate change is actually good, when their states lie in ruin.

  • Richard Hough

    Why would they ask a walker a question about science???

  • Osaka Williams

    When we apply the term liberty to nations, we are referring to a people’s desire to determine their own way without foreign control.