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Climate Change

On this week's Florida Roundup, we discussed the Florida connection to the impeachment inquiry surrounding President Donald Trump with Emily Mahoney, Florida Government Reporter, Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced plans to propose sweeping legislation meant to address Florida's water woes in a press conference Wednesday outside a Jupiter sewage plant.

The proposals largely follow the recommendations of a panel of scientists DeSantis appointed in April - a sharp departure from his predecessor Rick Scott, who refused to meet with scientists. DeSantis said the broad measures will be aimed at the state’s biggest sources of pollution: farms, aging wastewater treatment plants, stormwater and treated human waste used as fertilizer.

Florida Senate

Florida lawmakers Monday dug into issues involving climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, phrases mostly kept under wraps by state Republican leaders before last year’s elections.

Nearly 30 vulnerable bird species that call Florida home could lose more than half of their current range due to climate change and sea level rise, according to a new report from the National Audubon Society.

If the past is any indication, worsening threats from climate change, like rising seas in South Florida, could take a larger toll on the poor as people are forced to abandon their homes.

Climate change is a major problem, and solving it will be complicated.

But people can make a difference in their daily lives, a local environmental expert said Tuesday during a free class aimed at empowering individuals to make meaningful changes.

Florida's only Democrat elected to statewide office turned her focus Thursday to energy conservation, as  Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried unveiled a list of conservation measures.

Turn off the lights when they aren't needed? Check. Lower the thermostat a few degrees in winter? Maybe. Go full-time vegetarian? Probably not.

As the world's climate changes, ocean warming is accelerating and sea levels are rising more quickly, warns a new report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The report is a synthesis of the most up-to-date climate science on oceans and ice, and it lays out a stark reality: Ocean surface temperatures have been warming steadily since 1970, and for the past 25 years or so, they've been warming twice as fast.

Due to climate change, the world's oceans are getting warmer, rising higher, losing oxygen and becoming more acidic at an ever-faster pace and melting even more ice and snow, a grim international science assessment concludes.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 5:00 p.m. with comments from Broward County Public Schools, including the district's policy for students missing class to participate in protests.

South Broward High School senior Elijah Ruby had been handing out flyers advertising a climate change protest when a school administrator told him he would be suspended from campus for a day and barred from attending prom and other special class events.

Thousands of Florida students are demanding lawmakers and politicians act on climate issues. Across the state, students from Miami to Melbourne, and Fort Lauderdale to Jacksonville, skipped school as part of the Global Climate Strike. Protestors hope to put pressure on lawmaker to act faster on climate issues.

16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg inspired the climate strikes. The action comes ahead of a planned UN Climate Action Summit that takes place next week in New York.

Protesters in St. Petersburg took part in climate strikes happening across the world Friday, ahead of a United Nations Climate Change Summit next week.

Millions of students and adults around the world took time off from school and work Friday to participate in a Global Climate Strike. The action comes ahead of a planned United Nations Climate Action Summit that takes place next week in New York.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

Millions of young people raised their voices at protests around the world Friday in a massive display meant to demand urgent action on climate change. Scores of students missed school to take part, some joined by teachers and parents.

Some of the first rallies began in Australia, and then spread from Pacific islands to India and Turkey and across Europe, as students kicked off what organizers were calling a Global Climate Strike.

A pile of sand and sandbags sit near city of St. Petersburg workers who distribute them in advance of a 2016 storm
City of St. Petersburg/Flickr.com

Hurricanes such as Dorian are providing valuable data and modeling for planners and politicians working to battle climate change.

The process is called resiliency

Four thousand years ago, rising seas decimated huge swaths of mangroves in Florida Bay.

Today, seas rising at a far greater rate, combined with increasing storms and drought, could lead to another catastrophic loss of mangroves that help keep the state from sliding into the sea, according to a new study published by the U.S. Geological Survey in the journal Nature Communications.

Jessica Meszaros / WUSF Public Media

Florida agriculture leaders met in Gainesville this week to talk about climate change solutions within the industry.

The meeting came after a warning from the United Nations urging farmers and foresters to adapt to global warming -- for the sake of the environment and the agriculture industry.

WUSF's Jessica Meszaros spoke with Lynetta Usher Griner, a logger and one of the organizers of the Gainesville meeting. 

Randall Dasher is a fourth-generation Florida farmer and until last year, he never had a crop of iron-clay cowpeas fail.

"Something has changed and somewhere, someway, that has affected our yields," he said Monday during a panel at the University of Florida, where farmers met with U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa, scientists and agriculture officials.

As the planet heats up, polar ice melts, seas rise and Biblical-size rains become more frequent, hurricanes are expected to get wetter and more intense.

But less certain is how much climate change is making these fierce storms, which target Florida more than any other U.S. state, more punishing now.

Pixabay/ vegasita

Agriculture and forestry leaders are meeting in Gainesville on Monday to talk about farming and ranching as part of the climate change solution.

Budget Cover
City of Tampa

The City of Tampa will hire a sustainability officer to create a long-term plan for dealing with the effects of climate change. It’s one of the proposals Mayor Jane Castor announced in her first budget.

You can read Castor's budget presentation here [opens in a PDF file].

Florida’s heat set record highs last month. The Union of Concerned Scientists says in less than 20 years, Florida will be so hot for so much of the year that it could literally be life threatening. The scientists in a new report say the world must reduce carbon emissions now or face extreme heat that will take lives within decades. 

A report released this week predicts a lot more days of extreme heat - so much that they're being called "killer heat" days. We conclude our three-part series with a plea from scientists for politicians to do something - before it's too late.

Heat Index
Union of Concerned Scientists

By Steve Newborn

In 1995, a heat wave killed more than 700 people in Chicago. It affected mostly elderly, African-American women who lived on their own.

A report released this week shows climate change could mean a lot more days of extreme heat for Florida and Tampa Bay, and with it, the likelihood residents will be exposed to significant health risks.

A report released Tuesday says that the nation will face extremely hot days - along with deaths from killer heat waves - in the near future if carbon emissions aren't reduced. And perhaps not surprisingly, Florida may experience some of its hottest days on record.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

By Jessica Meszaros

A new study describes the future mass redistribution of plants and animals on Earth due to climate change.  The research conducted by the University of Florida and the University of Tasmania appears in the journal Nature Climate Change. An author of the study says Florida is already experiencing this migration due to global warming. Brett Scheffers, a professor of wildlife ecology at UF, spoke with WUSF's Jessica Meszaros.

People across southern Louisiana are spending the weekend worried about flooding. The water is coming from every direction: the Mississippi River is swollen with rain that fell weeks ago farther north, and a storm called Barry is pushing ocean water onshore while it drops more rain from above.

It's a situation driven by climate change, and one that Louisiana has never dealt with, at least in recorded history. And it's raising questions about whether New Orleans and other communities are prepared for such an onslaught.

The Government Accountability Office says the military isn't doing enough to deal with the effects of climate change, after more than $9 billion in hurricane and flood-related damage to three bases in less than a year.

Jessica Meszaros / WUSF Public Media

Scientists and politicians in Florida are highlighting climate change ahead of the Democratic presidential debates in Miami this week.

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