Florida Gov. Crist Looks to Enact Sweeping Climate Change Action


To cap off a two day climate change summit, Florida's Governor Charlie Crist plans to sign several executive orders into effect that could propel Florida into the top echelon of states addressing climate change and make it the first state in the Southeast to take significant action.  The plan includes:

  • Adopting California's car-pollution standards, requiring that starting in 2009, vehicles sold in Florida would have to reduce greenhouse gas pollutants by 25 percent in cars and 18 percent in sport utility vehicles. 
  • Requiring electric companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 2000 levels by 2017, making Florida the first state in the Southeast to enact targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Additionally, the orders ask the Public Service Commission to impose rules that would require electric companies to produce 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources, again making Florida the first state in the Southeast to mandate renewable energy production.
  • Requiring state agencies to buy cars with highest fuel efficiency, use biodiesel and ethanol for automobiles when available, and adopt green building standards for all buildings owned and operated by the Department of Management Services.

Crist had previously vetoed an energy bill passed by legislators because it didn't go far enough. The new executive orders will solidify Florida's place as a leader in Southeast in the fight against climate change.

There's one potential hitch to Crist's plan: our friends at the Institute for Southern Studies pointed out that Crist will likely recommend nuclear power as a major alternative to oil and gas. Nuclear power is not only costly -- the last plant that was built cost $7 billion -- but the waste that is produced is toxic and must be safely stored.


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