Is Gov Crist ending committment to Climate Summits

08/07/09 Seán Kinane
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Charlie Crist said yesterday that he has not yet decided whether to hold another Climate Summit this year. In his first two summers as Florida’s Governor, Crist was applauded by environmentalists for holding what was supposed to be an annual “Serve to Preserve Florida Summit on Global Climate Change.”

Two years ago, during Crist’s first Climate Summit, the Governor released three executive orders that environmentalists hoped would signal a greener future for Florida. But an article in Friday’s Miami Herald signaled that Crist is uncertain whether he will hold a summit this year. Kirk Fordham of the Everglades Foundation says he hopes Crist will continue holding the summit.

During the first summit in 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger joined Crist to announce efforts to reduce Florida’s greenhouse gas emissions. Fordham thinks the environmental advances of the first two Climate Summits make them worth continuing.

In a Friday afternoon press conference outside of MacDill Air Force Base about the resignation of Senator Mel Martinez, WMNF asked Crist whether he would hold a climate summit this summer. He did not answer on tape. Minutes later we asked again and he said, “I don’t know.” He did not answer a follow-up question and instead got into his SUV.

He told the Herald his indecision was based on the cost of the summit. But Fordham, whose Everglades Foundation contributed $10,000 to last year’s summit, says they would be happy to contribute again.

Many activists on the right have criticized Crist for not being conservative enough. They cite his endorsement of President Barack Obama’s stimulus bill and the Governor’s environmental record. Some people have speculated that Crist is moving some of his positions to the right in order to appeal to conservatives who might be inclined to support his opponent in next year’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate, Marco Rubio. But Fordham doesn’t see it that way.

The president of Sunshine Solar Services of Fort Lauderdale, Ed Strobel, assumes that the Climate Summit may just be a victim of Crist’s busy schedule, rather than the governor reconsidering his political capital after his legislation on renewable energy failed in the Legislature.

Everglades Foundation CEO Kirk Fordham says the Governor can support the environment and still appeal to conservatives.

Serve to Preserve Climate Summit

Everglades Foundation

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