(Rejected first draft of Gov. Rick Scott’s position on climate change).
My fellow Floridians, as you’ve all probably heard, a new National Climate Assessment report says that Florida is seriously threatened by rising sea levels, mass flooding, salt-contaminated water supplies and increasingly severe weather events — all supposedly caused by climate change.
Let me assure you there’s absolutely no reason for worry. I still don’t believe climate change is real, and you shouldn’t, either.
Don’t be impressed just because 240 “experts” contributed to this melodramatic report. The Tea Party has experts, too, and they assure me it’s all hogwash.
Even if the atmosphere is warming (and, whoa, I’m not saying it is!), I still haven’t seen a speck of solid evidence that it has anything do with man spewing millions of tons of gaseous pollutants into the sky.
Is the planet a hotter place than it was 200 years ago? Yes, but only by a couple of degrees. Did most of the temperature rise occur since 1970? Yes, but don’t blame coal-burning plants or auto emissions.
Maybe the sun is getting closer to the Earth. Ever think of that? Or the Earth is moving closer to the sun? Let’s get some brainiacs to investigate that possibility!
As long as I’m the governor, Florida isn’t going to punish any industries by imposing so-called “clean air” regulations that limit carbon emissions.
In fact, soon after I took office we repealed the state’s Climate Protection Act and eliminated the Energy and Climate Commission that was created under my predecessor, the Obama-hugging turncoat Charlie Crist.
I also ordered the Department of Environmental Protection to halt all initiatives dealing with renewable energy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, no one at DEP is even allowed to whisper the phrase “climate change” any more.
Yet the subject just won’t go away. That’s because the liberal media keep trying to scare everybody.
Say the polar ice caps really are melting, and sea levels really did rise 8 inches during the last 130 years. Who says there has to be a scientific explanation? Maybe God’s just messing around with us for a few centuries.
I myself own a big home in Naples right on the Gulf of Mexico, which is supposedly rising along with the oceans. Do I look scared? Do you see a moving van in my driveway?
Of course not (although I’m grateful to the Koch brothers for offering to let me stay with them in Wichita during the next hurricane).
And, please, enough griping already about Miami Beach going underwater! While I sympathize with all the homeowners and businesses along Alton Road that are being swamped by flooding at high tides, there’s not much I can do as governor except pretend it isn’t happening.
So let’s pull together to remind the rest of America, and the whole world, that most of Florida is still dry, and it will be for many, many real-estate cycles to come.
Newcomers who might be queasy about purchasing waterfront property in South Beach or Fort Lauderdale should instead consider some of our inland gems like Sebring (where the average elevation is 131 feet above sea level), Haines City (182 feet) or Eustis (67 feet).
Let’s get out the word that it could be hundreds of years before Ocala (104 feet) is submerged. So come on down now and get your homestead exemption before you need a snorkel to find your homestead.
If you really want to play it safe, try beautiful Britton Hill, the highest point in Florida at 345 feet above sea level. It is way up in Walton County near the Alabama border, but at least you’ll still be on the map if Key Biscayne turns into a coral reef.
To concerned residents of greater Miami, Tampa Bay and Apalachicola — three areas singled out by the federal report as imperiled by rising water — here’s what I would say:
Open a paddleboard shop, people. Or an airboat taxi service.
Why not turn a negative situation into a positive opportunity? One person’s sinkhole is another person’s cave-spelunking franchise.
Come on, Florida, let’s get to work.
(Carl Hiaasen is a columnist for The Miami Herald. Readers may write to him at: 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL, 33132.)
Photo: Florida Fish and Wildlife via Flickr