News

Kids are suing Gov. Rick Scott to force Florida to take action on climate change

"Eight young Florida residents — the youngest is 10, the oldest is 20, and one is a University of Miami marine science student— are the named plaintiffs in a lawsuit that seeks to force a state extremely vulnerable to climate-driven sea rise to start work on a court-ordered, science-based 'Climate Recovery Plan.'”

April 16, 2018

The young group suing Governor Scott is represented by Our Children's Trust, which is an organization that sponsors similar law suits from children across the country. Some perceive this as a legal stunt, but a federal judge recognized the claims to be legitimate enough to send the case to trial. Florida is vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by climate change, especially in the southern regions of the state. In the law suit, the children and their lawyers are accusing Scott and his administration of falling short in the implementation of legislation aimed at curbing carbon emissions, and ignoring the inevitable damage caused by sea-level rise.

"Gov. Scott says he's not a scientist. Well, neither are most of the people that are forced to take action because the state is failing us." 


Constitution panel proposes putting 24 ideas into 12 amendments on November ballot

"While some CRC members wanted all the proposals to stand on their own to avoid voter confusion, others argued they wanted them grouped to save voters’ time."

April 4, 2018

A preliminary proposal unanimously adopted by the Style and Drafting Committee of the Constitutional Revision Commission would allow 24 proposals to be condensed into 12 amendments on the November ballot. Interestingly enough, Proposal 91, which would ban oil and gas drilling in Florida- owned waters, would be paired with Proposal 65, which would ban indoor vaping. Some believe that the bundling of proposals will lead to unfair outcomes, while others are concerned with minimizing lines at the polls. 

“We owe the citizens of this state the opportunity to decide on each individual proposal as to whether that proposal should become part of our Constitution,” Henry Coxe, a Jacksonville lawyer, wrote in a letter to the committee’s chair, Brecht Heuchan on Monday.


Massachusetts top court rules against Exxon in climate change probe

“Massachusetts’ top court on Friday rejected Exxon Mobil Corp’s bid to block the state’s attorney general from obtaining records to investigate whether the company for decades concealed its knowledge of the role fossil fuels play in climate change.”

April 13, 2018

The Supreme Judicial Court of Mass. ruled that Attorney General Healey could legally obtain records to determine whether or not Exxon's marketing or sale of products derived from fossil fuel infringed upon the state's consumer protection law. Healey is eager to receive documents from Exxon that would most likely disclose the fact that they were aware of climate change, the risk involved in their industry, and at what time in the company's history that this knowledge came to fruition. The Mass. investigation into Exxon began in 2015.

"Healey’s probe related to how manmade greenhouse gas emissions had caused climate change, “a distinctly modern threat that grows more serious with time, and the effects of which are already being felt in Massachusetts.”


Oil spill laps shores during Chevron- sponsored French Quarter festival

“On April 12, an oil spill in the Mississippi River brought noxious fumes to music lovers at the New Orleans French Quarter Festival. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates 4,200 gallons of diesel oil spilled when a cargo ship hit the Nashville Wharf.”

April 13, 2018

Traffic had to be stopped on the Mississippi River while the Coast Guard and Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator's Office worked together to clean up the oil spill. According to witnesses, thick layers of oil and sludge were lining the shore, giving off intense fumes. Ironically enough, the main sponsor of the festival is Chevron, with many other popular New Orleans festivals being "underwritten" by big oil companies sponsorship.


Clean energy ambition creates jobs

"Statistics from the Solar Foundation show Atlanta, which pledged in 2017 to make the transition to 100 clean power by 2035, had a 21% increase in solar jobs last year – one of the biggest rises in the country."

April 6, 2018


Here's how climate change could make air travel even worse

"Climate change: it's disrupting our planet, and it's going to disrupt your future travel plans, especially if you're planning to fly. Weather disruptions will mean more delays and cancellations, strengthening jet streams at high altitudes means more turbulence, and traveling against the jet stream (like flying from Europe to the U.S.) means your flights will take longer."

April 8, 2018

Rising temperatures are predicted to give travelers a more difficult time for several reasons. Increased temperatures and subsequent heat waves will result in thinner air, which makes it more difficult for planes to generate the appropriate amount of lift during takeoff. Planes schedules to take off during the hottest times of the year will need weight restrictions to safely fly. Along with this, unpredictable storms and flooding can damage planes and terminals, as well as delay flights. 

“We’ll be able to adapt to these things, but it does have a penalty,” says Coffel. “You have to spend money just to maintain today’s performance, so in that sense [with] any adaptation, even if its successful, you’re still basically paying the cost of climate change.”


Pipeline spill in South Dakota twice as big as first thought

"Around 407,000 gallons (338,900 imperial gallons) spilled onto farmland when the pipeline broke near Amherst in Marshall County on Nov. 16, a spokeswoman for pipeline owner TransCanada Corp., told the Aberdeen American News. TransCanada had originally put the spill at 210,000 gallons (174,860 imperial gallons)."

April 7, 2018

The new development in the pipeline spill makes it the seventh- largest oil or petroleum spill on land since 2010. A mere 12 days after the leak, TransCanada continued normal use of the pipeline. It is estimated that the spill cost TransCanada $9.57 million. A report indicates that the pipeline might have been damaged during the construction process in 2008. 


Renewables grew twice as fast as fossil fuels in 2017

"Solar, wind, biomass and other renewables generated 12.1 percent of world electricity in 2017, up from 5.2 percent a decade earlier."

April 6, 2018

The world set a new record for installation of solar power in 2017, that is 98 GW of energy capacity. The capacity for fossil fuels in 2017 was much lower at 70 GW. Climate experts have encouraged governments to transition to renewable energy sources by mid- century if they are to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Investment in renewables increased by two percent across the globe. Furthermore, the cost of producing electricity from solar technologies fell by 15 percent last year.

“'We are at a turning point ... from fossil fuels to the renewable world,' Erik Solheim, head of U.N. Environment, told Reuters. 'The markets are there and renewables can take on coal, they can take on oil and gas.'”


Zinke sees low demand, strong opposition, for new offshore drilling

"President Trump's plan to open large swaths of the East and West coasts to offshore oil and natural gas drilling faces significant headwinds."

April 6, 2018

Zinke claims that a significant factor he is taking into account in moving forward with his offshore drilling plan is local opposition. States across the county have been vocal in their disapproval of opening up their coastlines to offshore drilling exploration. Zinke believes that the industry is uninterested in increased offshore exploration and points to the expensive infrastructure and environmental risk as reasons for the discouragement. 

"'There is a lot of opposition, particularly off the coast of the East Coast, the West Coast, on oil and gas," he said. "And so our plan takes into consideration the local communities, the voice of the governors.'"


Florida governor vetoes 'toilet to tap' bill

"Protecting Florida's environment has been a top priority during my time as governor," Scott said in the veto letter. "Florida has stringent water quality standards, and we are going to keep it that way."

April 6, 2018

The 'toilet to tap' bill would have given way to treated wastewater being pumped back into Florida's groundwater. Historically, Scott has not sided with environmentalists, but a handful of groups rallied citizens together to call and email the governor's office. Proponents of the bill claimed that the water would meet federal standards for drinking water; opponents countered that federal water standards do not test for harmful things, e.g. pharmaceuticals, which spread through human waste.

"'I am surprised by this, for sure, and pleasantly surprised by this, of course," said event organizer Brian Lee, who chairs the Leon County Soil and Water Conservation District. "I hope that means he was listening to the people.'"


Shell knew fossil fuels created climate change risks back in 1980s, internal documents show

“Internal company documents uncovered by a Dutch news organization show that the oil giant Shell had a deep understanding, dating at least to the 1980s, of the science and risks of global warming caused by fossil fuel emissions.”

April 5, 2018

The scientists at Shell urged the company to address the potential that fossil fuel emissions would have profound consequences such as unnatural climate change. Essentially, Shell, as well as several other oil and gas companies, knew of the danger associated with greenhouse gasses, yet kept that knowledge out of the eyes of the general public. Dutch environmentalists intend to sue Shell for withholding this information and perpetuating the climate crisis. 

In one Shell report from the 80s, the company acknowledged that "'The emerging problem "could have major social, economic and political consequences," it said—a powerful enough upheaval to be "the greatest in human history.'"


Young Americans want to save you from climate change 

"Around nine in ten millennials understand that the climate is changing, the highest proportion of any age group, while nearly eight in 10 think humankind must work to stem the rise in temperature."

April 1, 2018

Students from across the country have made their voices heard on the issue of climate change, and the need to take action. High school students from Connecticut founded a youth- led climate advocacy group called Zero Hour. The group is fundraising in order to organize a march in Washington, DC this July. The ultimate goal of the group is to demand lawmakers to transition the U.S. to 100 percent renewable energy sources by 2028. 

“'We really want to focus on finding youth from front-line communities who want to speak out and tell their stories,” Artis said. “We don’t want to make it about partisanship, but rather an issue that is going to affect everyone.'"


Florida community set to become nation's first solar-powered town 

"One brand-new Florida town has taken its first steps toward becoming completely solar powered. Babcock Ranch, just north of Fort Myers, already has residents moving in and businesses looking to get in on the action." 

April 2, 2018

Syd Kitson, the developer of Babcock Ranch, is striving to keep the solar energy they are producing in the hands of the private sector instead of  dealing with involvement from the federal government which could mean high tariffs. Upwards of 250 families are predicted to settle into the town withing the next year. Residents will enjoy inexpensive energy, autonomous transportation shuttles, and a wildlife preservation- with more than 90% of the land set aside for preservation purposes.  

"'I think the state of Florida has really, over the last several years, realized that it's the Sunshine State, and that this is a great opportunity for a renewable energy source for the state of Florida,' said Kitson."


Why Miami is the first stop on a campaign to ask polluters to pay for climate action

"Unlike plenty of other areas threatened by a changing climate, South Florida cities and counties have come up with plans to stem the floods — and they’ve committed hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars for the work."

March 9, 2018

In an effort to control the impacts of sea level rise, Miami recently voted to tax itself close to $200 million. Miami Beach is also contributing half a billion on improved storm-water systems and raised roads. However, new feelings area brewing within a political movement in Miami and it's pushing for a radical proposal. Polluters pay, not taxpayers

"“You hear them say the responsibility should be shared with states and federal government, but we’ve never had the conversation about polluters. What responsibility do they have?” said Maggie Fernandez, committee chair of the Miami Climate Alliance and president of Sustainable Miami."


A 'Major Second Wave' of U.S. Fracking Is About to Be Unleashed Upon the World

"U.S. oil and natural gas is on the verge of transforming the world’s energy markets for a second time, further undercutting Saudi Arabia and Russia."

March 6, 2018

Just in the time span of a few years remade the global energy sector by the mass adoption of fracking in the U.S. spiked barrels of oil into the billions and cubic feet of natural gas in to the trillions. The International Energy Agency said in a recent forecast that the increase in U.S. oil production will account for 80% of global demand for oil over the next three years. It is predicted to grow almost 30% to 17 million barrels per day by 2023. Much of that increase being attributed to fracking in West Texas.

The second fracking boom in the U.S. is followed by noticeable ramifications for the global energy markets and geopolitics in broader terms.

“In a shale revolution world, no country is an island,” said Birol. “Everyone will be affected.”


Climate Change Could Double Global Sea Level Rise By 2100: NASA Study

"There has been an acceleration in the total rise of sea level on Earth in recent years rather than it rising at a steady pace, a new NASA study has reported."

March 5, 2018

NASA has been compiling data on sea level rise for the past 25 years. This information was used to conduct a projection study that attributes the increase in sea level rise to the accelerated melting in Antarctica and Greenland. This incredible acceleration has the capacity to double the global sea level by 2100. This means if the melting continues, at this rate, the sea level would rise 26 inches by 2100. 

"This is almost certainly a conservative estimate," study lead author Steve Nerem said. "Our extrapolation assumes that sea level continues to change in the future as it has over the last 25 years. Given the large changes we are seeing in the ice sheets today, that's not likely."

 

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Floridians Against Fracking Call On Senator Bradley to Be A Hero On Fracking With Virtual “Bradley Bat Signal”

Asking Sen. Bradley to schedule SB 462 in his last Appropriations hearing

February 28, 2018

Tallahassee-, FL -- Today, the Floridians Against Fracking again called on Senator Rob Bradley to hold a final hearing on a bill that would ban fracking in Florida on Friday, March 2nd.  The event is the culmination of nearly 1500 phone calls and several actions across the state over the past week to encourage Senator Bradley to continue his legacy as a clean water champion by passing a bill to ban fracking.


Florida's Fracking Ban is Flying Through the Senate

Food and Water Watch 

February 14, 2018

"After passing through the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee unanimously, the fracking ban bill moved to the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources for the first time ever.
Each of these votes has been bipartisan and featured unprecedented support."

 

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Is Florida IN or OUT of Offshore Drilling Plan? Feds could decide later this year

WGCU SW Florida 

February 12, 2018

"Supporters and opponents of offshore drilling have one thing in common: neither believe Florida is off the table in the federal government’s proposed 5-year offshore leasing plan."
Uncertainty regarding Florida's Future means we still have to fight! We don't need oil to meet energy demands with the untapped potential of renewables!#SunshineState #ProtectOurCoasts


LWV Reports Sunshine State is Making Solar Strides

The Bradenton Times

February 11, 2018

"Florida now leads the nation in new residential rooftop permits with a growth rate of 110 percent in 2016. The Florida Solar Energy Center reports solar jobs are growing at a rate of ten times that of the Florida economy."


President Trump Slaps Tariffs on Solar Panels in Major Blow to Renewable Energy

Time

January 22, 2018

"The US will impose duties as much as 30 percent on solar equipment made abroad, a move that threatens to handicap a $28 billion industry hat relies on parts made abroad for 80 percent of its supply."


Lee County Residents Stage Mock Oil Spill to Support Anti-Fracking Legislation

WGCU
November 22nd, 2017

"A group of Lee County residents met in downtown Fort Myers Tuesday night to stage a mock oil rig spill to draw attention to the risks of fracking and promote the proposed bipartisan legislation that would ban the practice in Florida."

Protesters with signs


POINT OF VIEW: Court was clear: Community comes first on fracking

Palm Beach Post
November 8th, 2017

"Approximately 80 percent of Florida’s population has supported a ban on fracking through city and county resolutions. Is Rodrigues representing the majority of Floridians or fossil fuel interests?"

Protester with sign


Tallahasseeans want more money for schools and the environment, restrictions on guns and a ban on fracking

Tallahassee Democrat
October 31st, 2017

ReThink Energy Florida attended the 2017 Leon County Legislative Delegation Meeting on Monday, Oct. 30, 2017 to let our legislative delegates know we want a ban on fracking to be an issue they focus on in the upcoming legislative session. The event, which happen at the Leon County courthouse was packed with over 100 people. To learn more about the event and hear about how ReThink Energy Florida President: Kim Ross and Communications Director: Brian Lee were involved, check out the full article in the Tallahassee Democrat by clicking the title above.

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Education, fracking, crime: Leon County delegation hears concerns

Florida Politics
October 31st, 2017

At the Leon County Legislative Delegation Meeting, many issues were discussed including mental health problems, crime rates, and because of the attendance of ReThink Energy Florida and Floridians Against Fracking, fracking was a major issue discussed as well. You can read a synopsis of the issues discussed from Florida Politics by clicking the title above.

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UCF's enormous solar plant would slash $2 million a year from utility bills

Orlando Sentinel
May 5th, 2017

"UCF’s solar array would be the biggest in the state not backed by a utility and may mark Florida’s energy timeline as beginning to crack the utility monopoly on electricity."

UCF solar panels

 

ReThink Energy Florida Pres. Kim Ross to be interviewed on 'Tallahassee National Action In Action' radio show

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Reclaiming Florida's Future For All!

WCJB (ABC) - Gainesville, FL - WCJB TV 20 News 5 Live
March 22nd, 2017

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Advocacy for everyone: How to effectively influence Florida politics (February Lunch & Learn)

FSView & Florida Flambeau 
February 19th, 2017

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Competition teaches students STEM skills, solar power (2017 Energy Whiz!)

Tallahassee Democrat 
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Rethink Energy Florida Reflects on Election's "Good News"

WTXL ABC 27 
January 18th, 2017

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Water cannons, rubber bullets used on Dakota Access Pipeline protesters by police

BBC
November 21, 2016

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Protesters Take to the Streets for National Day of Action against Pipeline
WCTV
November 15, 2016

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Seas aren’t just rising, scientists say — it’s worse than that. They’re speeding up.


Top lawmaker calls for buying up sugar land to clean Everglades