Ron DeSantis Signs Law to Axe Climate Change from Florida Policy

The state government in Florida isn’t able to consider climate change when it crafts energy policy, after Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new law on Wednesday.

The state Legislature passed the law in March, and it’ll now go into effect on July 1.

There are a lot of items covered under the new law. One is the prohibition of offshore wind turbines in waters owned by the state. It also repeals grant programs the state runs that encourage renewable energy and energy conservation.

In addition, the law has deleted language that used to say state agencies had to use products that were climate-friendly and only purchase vehicles that are fuel-efficient.

Municipalities are also forbidden to restrict the type of fuel that can be used in home appliances, including gas stoves.

DeSantis took to X — the social media platform formerly known as Twitter — to explain that this bill as well as two others that he signed Wednesday “will keep windmills off our beaches, gas in our tanks and China out of our state. We’re restoring sanity in our approach to energy and rejecting the agenda of the radical green zealots.”

The ironic part about this legislation is that Florida is among the most vulnerable states in the country to climate change’s effects.

The New York Times reported recently that many scientific studies have found that greenhouse gasses have been trapped in the atmosphere, which then contributed to the rise in sea levels and additional flooding in many cities throughout Florida.

In 2023, Florida experienced its hottest summer since 1985. In addition, waters off the state’s coast heated up to 90 degrees, which scorched marine life and bleaching corals.

Hurricane damage has also increased substantially in Florida in recent years.

In 2022, Hurricane Ian ended up being the costliest hurricane in the history of Florida. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it resulted in $109.5 billion in damages as well as the death of 140 people.

Just one year later, Hurricane Idalia caused roughly $3.6 billion in total damage.

Insurance companies are having to face significant losses in Florida due to these extreme weather events and other flooding, which has caused many large companies to leave the state altogether.

That has left many homeowners in Florida scrambling to try to find coverage. The average premium Florida homeowners pay is among the highest in the entire country.

Because private insurers aren’t offering coverage to everyone, thousands of people have been forced to enroll in the high-risk insurance pool the state runs as their last resort. But, DeSantis himself has already said that the fund is “insolvent.”

Many economic experts have said the instability in Florida’s insurance market has already threatened the state’s real estate market and, in addition, its economy as a whole.

While DeSantis’ administration has supported many programs that look to make communities more resilient to extreme weather, but he’s also fought against general climate policies.