FLORIDA RANKS 2ND HIGHEST IN CARBON EMISSIONS By Roxanne Escobales

06/20/06

Florida’s carbon dioxide emissions have increased by almost 350 percent in the past four decades. This fact was revealed today as part of a report by the statewide environmental and consumer advocacy group FPIRG, who held a pess conference on Clearwater Beach to discuss its findings on Florida’s role in global warming. This comes the day before the US House of Representatives is expected to pass a bill that would allow drilling 100 miles off the Gulf Coast in an effort to satisfy Americans reliance on fossil fuels.

ACT: WAVES

Most people visiting Clearwater beach would expect to hear the Gulf of Mexico gently lapping the shoreline.

Instead, they get this:

ACT: BUILDING SITE

the skyline is dotted with cranes and the sound of seagulls is drowned out by the noise of construction.

More houses and condos mean more industry, more cars on the roads and more energy consumption. And that is precisely the reason that Florida ranks second in the US for total overall carbon dioxide emissions. That is part of the findings in a report titled The Carbon Boom released by the Florida Public Interest Group. FPIRG, as it is known, found that Florida’s carbon dioxide emission increased by almost 350 percent over the past 40 years.

The car culture contributes a large portion to this increase. John Nohlgren is FPIRG’s outreach director.

ACT:

Nohlgren also said that burning coal for electricity makes up 35 percent of Florida’s threefold increase in carbon dioxide emissions. The demand for electricity, of course, has been spurred on by the development as seen with the condos being erected on Clearwater Beach.

Susan Glickman of the Natural Resources Defense Council said the results of global warming from high carbon dioxide emissions could have negative implications for Floridians.

ACT: hurricanes, public health, mosquito, sea level rise

Glickman said that there “wasn’t one single silver bullet answer� to what she called America’s energy crisis. But she did say that consumers, as voters, should take responsibility.

ACT: People in the communities need to demand from their lawmakers to step up to the plate.

The environmental advocates lauded California Representative Henry Waxman for introducing the Safe Climate Act today. The bill would set goals for the US to reduce its global warming pollution, while calling for improved energy efficiency and reliance on clean renewable energy sources.

This comes the day before the US House of Representatives is expected to vote on a bill that would allow oil and natural gas drilling up to 100 miles off the Gulf coast of Florida. The bill, which Florida legislators have been trying to fight, comes in response to rising gas prices, instability in the Middle East and what President Bush called America’s addiction to oil.

While most sunbathers and workers on the beach think drilling off the Gulf coast is a bad idea, others are oblivious to the situation.

VOX POPS Drilling for what?

Republicans are confident that the new version of the House drilling bill will be passed. Representative Waxman’s Safe Climate Act if taken up would require an 80% reduction in pollution levels by 2050. In the meantime, it was a hot day on Clearwater Beach and it’s due to get even hotter.

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