The Sunshine State becomes a state of climate emergency

Our nation and our planet are in a state of climate emergency. Florida is ground zero.

The challenge in Miami’s low areas is particularly well known. New analysis from Climate Central finds that if we don’t take action to reduce heat-trapping emissions, Miami Beach will have more affordable housing at risk from rising sea levels by 2050 than any other city. from Florida.

The risk, however, looms over the entire state. Of all the coastal states in the lower 48 countries, Florida has the most homes at risk of chronic flooding over the next 30 years. And Florida is one of the top three states that will see the biggest increase in extreme heat.

The Sunshine State has long attracted a steady stream of new residents and visitors seeking its outdoor charms. Unfortunately, the increasingly serious consequences of the environmental threat do not occur in a distant decade, but are already impacting our way of life, from the drinking water we depend on to the disappearing wildlife and biodiversity. around us.

The longer the climate crisis goes unchecked, the less Florida we will have. It’s a harsh reality.

Moreover, to suggest that we have to choose between protecting the environment and our wallets is a false narrative. Indeed, Floridians, especially communities of color who are on the front lines of this crisis, continue to pay more for inaction.

The average annual cost of a property insurance policy in Florida is nearly double what it is in the rest of the country, in part due to estimated hurricane losses. According to the Insurance Information Institute, so far in 2022, statewide home insurance premiums are up nearly 25% from a year ago. In fact, catastrophic hurricane losses have driven most major national insurers out of the Florida property insurance market for the past few decades.

However, the problems associated with extreme heat and rising sea levels go beyond economics. Risks include an increase in saltwater intrusion, which not only contaminates drinking water supplies, but also affects freshwater marshes that are home to endangered species.

In addition, the climate crisis presents health hazards that affect all Floridians, especially outdoor workers who, in the coming decades, are expected to face nearly $8.4 billion in total annual income in the future. risk due to extreme heat if we do not reduce heat-trapping emissions. .

The time for action is long overdue, and we must act with urgency and agency. Protecting our natural resources, our homes, our businesses, and the health and lives of current and future generations should not be a partisan issue.

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Even if the impacts are disastrous, the climate crisis is a race we can and must win. We already have the technology and the resources to tackle the climate emergency. The Sunshine State can be energy independent and lead the clean energy revolution that is already underway. Passing the bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the recent Cut Inflation Act can fund the decarbonization demanded by science; we just need to rally the will.

The government cannot solve the problem alone, but it must play a leading role in allowing clean energy technologies and innovation to thrive while limiting the harmful effects of pollution from global warming. and uncontrolled environmental degradation.

We must seize these investment opportunities and put the state on a clean, renewable energy path to help limit the future frequency of algal blooms or extreme weather events like heat waves that affect so many Floridians. We need to set a goal now to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040, with an intermediate goal focused on increasing energy efficiency and intensifying solar power on Floridian-owned rooftops. by 2025 – an idea that should be a no-brainer in a privileged state with abundant sunshine all year round.

We must act quickly – or we risk turning the Sunshine State into a state of climate emergency.

Yoca Arditi-Rocha, Executive Director of the CLEO Institute; Thais Lopez Vogel, co-founder and administrator of the VoLo Foundation; and Dr. Rachel Licker, Senior Climatologist, Union of Concerned Scientists.

Sign the petition to put Florida on a clean renewable path by visiting https://bit.ly/FLClimateEmergency.

“The Invading Sea” is the opinion arm of the Florida Climate Reporting Network, a collaboration of news organizations across the state focusing on the threats posed by global warming.

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