Scientists say that the only way to avoid the worst effects of future catastrophic climate change is to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses being dumped into the atmosphere. The United States spews more carbon into the air per capita than any other country, so reducing emissions in the U.S. would go a long way toward making sure the worst projections are avoided. One proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to tax carbon. Because that would mean increased prices for consumers, a bipartisan group of Congress members has filed a bill that would place a fee on carbon emissions but then refund money to all Americans. It’s co-sponsored by St. Petersburg-area Congress member Charlie Crist.
In October, the West-Central Florida region finally formed what’s known as the Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition. Several governments are working together for solutions to problems caused by climate change. It’s similar to what we’ve seen in South Florida for nearly a decade. WMNF News asked the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council chair, Janet Long, about the resiliency coalition. Long is a Pinellas County Commissioner.
“It’s called the Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition. And it is made up of five of the six counties that represent the west coast of Florida. It came about as the result of the lessons we learned from Hurricane Irma. And how we all suffered the same issues after the storm in terms of trying to make everyone whole, clean up the area, take advantage of the resources that we all had. So we decided to move forward and create this coalition that would come together and agree that we would work together to mitigate and insure public safety, health and welfare in the event of a catastrophic event. And that’s what we’re doing. So, as you know from our signing that we had on October 8th, we had 25 regional governments that signed on to this compact. And that is quite an accomplishment in the world we live in today when it’s so difficult on so many fronts for people to work together.”
Monday was the first day of a major U.N. climate summit in Poland. The climate catastrophe is caused by heat becoming trapped near the earth’s surface because of increasing concentrations of gases like carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels. Human-caused climate change is wreaking havoc all over the globe, including here in Florida.