Opponents claim the Florida governors environment policies support portrayals of him as a climate-change denier
Wearing his signature baseball cap, Floridas governor, Rick Scott, has been a highly visible fixture of every Sunshine State hurricane in the last eight years. On Monday, as Michaels 120mph winds bore down on the Gulf coast, Scott was there again, warning of forecasts of the most destructive storm to hit Floridas Panhandle in decades.
But as the term-limited governor attempts to become a US senator, scrutiny is again falling upon his record in office and what his opponents claim are policies that support portrayals of him as a climate-change denier.
He stands up in front of Floridians and he says: Time to abandon your homes, you better escape before the hurricane comes, said Frank Jackalone, Florida chapter director of the Sierra Club, which links rising sea temperatures to an increase in the frequency and ferocity of major hurricanes.
To me, thats a metaphor for what hes doing to the whole state. Hes allowing our environment to degrade and hes setting the stage for somebody to say, Time to leave Florida, your home. He looks like a leader when he does that but hes addressing the crisis after it happens instead of working to prevent the crisis.
Scott was a strong supporter of Donald Trumps decision to unilaterally withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. He was also reported to have banned the phrases global warming and climate change from state documents, websites and even office discussions, an allegation he has repeatedly denied.
In 2017, he approved Floridas so-called anti-science law, which critics say was aimed at allowing legal challenges to the teaching of the realities of climate change and global warming in the states classrooms.
But to opponents such as Jackalone, its what Scott has not done that has caused lasting damage.