ֱ

POLITICS

FAU survey finds political, generational differences on human impact of climate change

Clear majorities support government action with 68% of respondents calling on Tallahassee 'to do more' and 69% wanting Washington to also 'do more to address climate change,' the statement said.

Palm Beach Post

A survey released by Florida Atlantic University found that nine out of 10 Floridians agree the climate is changing, but they splinter along political and generational lines on what their governments ֱ if anything ֱ should be doing about it.

The 90% response registered by the Boca Raton-based university's Florida Climate Resilience Survey, researchers noted, surpassed the results tallied by a nationally focused Yale University in a similar survey that showed 72% of all Americans believe climate change is happening.

ֱFloridians support strengthening our resilience to the effects of climate change because they are experiencing it," said Colin Polsky, founding director of FAU's School of Environmental, Coastal, and Ocean Sustainability (ECOS), in a prepared statement after the survey's release on Tuesday, May 14. "The urgency to act means debate over causes is largely irrelevant.ֱ

Clear majorities support government action with 68% of respondents calling on Tallahassee "to do more" and 69% wanting Washington to also "do more to address climate change," the statement said.

But while more than half ֱ 58% ֱ attributed climate change to human activity, political partisanship remains a fault line. While 74% of Democrats and 64% of independents agreed that "climate change is happening and largely caused by humans," just 40% of Republicans said the same.

There is also a generational fissure.

Some 66% of those under 50 years of age were "more likely to believe that human activity is the cause of climate change" and 77% of those backed more aggressive state government action. But just 50% of those over 50 said they saw a significant human impact and only 59% wanted more action from the state government led by Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida's Legislature.

GOP support for solar power falls as Trump bashes electric vehicle mandates

The survey found a 4-percentage point drop to 51% in backing for solar power production as "the primary form of energy" in the so-called Sunshine State as Republican support fell by nine points.

On Wednesday, DeSantis signed legislation into law that he boasted "will keep windmills off our beaches, gas in our tanks, and China out of our state."

The new law will ban cities and counties from approving energy policy restrictions while relaxing rules on the construction of natural gas pipelines in Florida. It bars the building of offshore wind turbines ֱ there are currently none along the state's coastline ֱ and removes the terms "climate change" and "greenhouse gas" from Florida law.

This past weekend, the most influential political figure in Florida, former president and current presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, again diminished and ridiculed climate-change energy policies.

At a rally in Wildwood, New Jersey, Trump claimed the Garden State's electricity-generating coastal windmills are "horrible" and kill birds and whales while producing "the most expensive energy there is." Scientists have debunked the connection between the windmills and whale deaths and noted the region is also a major shipping corridor.

Like other northeastern U.S. states, New Jersey has higher electric power costs due to its high population density, high demand and higher cost of living, according to energy analysts.

Trump has ridiculed the use of electric vehicles in stump speeches and has promised to lower U.S. fuel costs with a "drill, baby, drill" policy that could open sensitive and pristine federal lands in Alaska and elsewhere for oil production. Trump has also vowed to end mandates and incentives for electric vehicle purchases.

The Washington Post reported this week that Trump has approached U.S. energy conglomerates, offering tax breaks and reductions in regulation if they contribute $1 billion to his campaign. The news organization cited sources who attended a dinner at Mar-a-Lago in April, prompting congressional Democrats to call for an investigation.

FAU survey says Floridians believe their climate is changing but disagree on whether government should do more.

FAU releases survey as Florida readies for extreme heat, active storm season

The semiannual survey, which FAU has been conducting since October 2019, was released Tuesday as Florida braced for more extreme weather from the southern tip of the peninsula to the panhandle.

On Tuesday, northwest Florida and the state capital of Tallahassee geared up for more severe weather days after tornadoes tore through the city. In southeast Florida, meteorologists warned a heat wave that could produce ֱfeels-like" temperatures in the triple digits will persist through the weekend as the 98 degrees recorded Wednesday at Palm Beach International Airport topped the previous high of 94 set in 1922.

Forecasters at this week's yearly Governor's Hurricane Conference are projecting as many as 30 named storms in what they say be a super-busy year in the tropics. The state remains gripped in an insurance crisis largely stemming from the threats that supercharged hurricanes and rising seas are presenting to the landscape.

More than a dozen insurers have declared insolvency in the past five years and the average premium paid by Florida homeowners ֱ $10,996 ֱ is more than four times the $2,377 average across the United States.

But Alice C. Hill, senior fellow for energy and the environment at the , points out that 80% of Americans have seen significant increases in their property insurance costs, whether from wildfires or floods or tornadoes and other severe weather.

"This is the crack that is beginning to reveal some of the costs in climate change," said Hill during a May 10 discussion on the topic at the New York-based organization.

Antonio Fins is a politics and business editorֱatֱ, part of theֱUSA TODAY Florida Network.You can reach him atֱafins@pbpost.com..