Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has dismissed claims that Hurricane Idalia, a deadly storm that recently hit the state, is a result of climate change. Speaking at a press conference in Yankeetown, DeSantis scoffed at the notion that wild weather events are linked to climate change. He pointed out that a storm with similar characteristics occurred in 1896 and had 125 mph winds, just like Hurricane Idalia. DeSantis also mentioned the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, which had sustained winds of 185 mph, making it the most powerful hurricane in Florida's history. He argued that these historical examples show that hurricanes are not a new phenomenon and that blaming climate change is "alarmism."
DeSantis criticized President Joe Biden and others who have raised concerns about climate change's role in extreme weather events. He accused them of using storms as a pretext to advance their political agenda. He stated, "The notion that somehow if we just adopt, you know, very left-wing policies at the federal level that somehow we will not have hurricanes, that is a lie." DeSantis emphasized that such claims are wrong and unfair to the people who have suffered from the storm's impact.
Hurricane Idalia, which reached Category 4 status, caused significant damage in northern Florida and resulted in at least two deaths. AccuWeather's preliminary analysis estimates that the storm's damage will cost between $18 billion to $20 billion. President Biden, who visited the state to survey the wreckage, expressed concerns about climate change and called for increased federal funding. However, DeSantis did not accompany Biden on his visit, citing logistical and security concerns.
Despite his skepticism about “left-wing” climate change policies, DeSantis has taken measures to prepare Florida's infrastructure for extreme weather events. In 2021, he launched the "Always Ready Florida" plan, which allocated around $270 million for projects across the state to combat flooding and other weather phenomena.
When asked about the federal government's role in assisting with the cleanup efforts, DeSantis highlighted the state's preparedness and response. He stated that Florida had already taken necessary measures and that the federal government's role was primarily to provide financial assistance for debris cleanup and individual aid. DeSantis emphasized that disaster response should be a bottom-up approach, with local communities and the state taking the lead.
DeSantis's comments have sparked controversy, with critics arguing that he is downplaying the role of climate change in extreme weather events. However, DeSantis maintains that historical examples prove hurricanes are not a new phenomenon and that using them to push a political agenda is wrong. The debate surrounding climate change and its connection to extreme weather events continues, with politicians and scientists offering differing viewpoints.
themes: Joe Biden Florida