New FL legislation would set 30-year clean energy goal for state

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As the world continues to grow hotter and concerns increase about climate change, two Florida Democratic lawmakers say it’s time for the state to set a target to require clean energy.

Miami state Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez and Orlando Rep. Anna Eskamani are introducing a bill for the 2020 session that would require that all electricity used in the state be generated from 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. The legislation also requires an interim goal of using 40 percent clean energy by 2030.

“Florida is far too reliant on energy sources that pollute our air and water and our state desperately needs an aggressive plan to change that,” Sen. Rodriguez said in a written statement. “Inaction fails Floridians, hurting our health, our economy and our precious ecosystems; and as ground zero when it comes to sea level rise, we also need to take responsibility for tackling not just the effects but our contribution to the CAUSES of climate change. As the Sunshine State, Florida should be a nationwide leader in the push for 100 percent clean, renewable energy.”

Whether the bill will get a fair chance in either chamber of the Republican-controlled Legislature is questionable.  Similar legislation introduced in the 2019 session went nowhere.

May was the hottest recorded in Florida in more than a century, and June was one of the hottest ever recorded,  according to weather.com.

Eskamani says that Floridians are already feeling the effects of a warming world.

“From mosquitoes and hurricanes to harmful algae blooms and sea level rise – Florida has a lot to lose if climate change goes unchecked, and one of the most important ways to curb the impact of climate change and to build a more resilient state is through transitioning to 100% renewable energy,” she said.

The proposal is ambitious.

Twenty-nine states in the country have established clean energy  standards, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Most of those states’ goals for clean energy sources range between 10 to 45 percent.

In lieu of the state setting any goals to transition from fossil fuels to sources like wind and solar, a growing number of cities in Florida have taken matters into their own hands.

St. Petersburg, Orlando, South Miami, Sarasota, Tallahassee, Gainesville, Largo, Dunedin and Safety Harbor have all voted in the past two years to pledge  a goal of 100 percent clean, renewable energy future. That campaign has been led by the Sierra Club, and now includes more than 120 cities nationwide.

Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry has spent the past 18 years covering news and politics in the Sunshine State, most recently with FloridaPolitics.com. He worked for five years as the political editor of Creative Loafing in Tampa, and before that he was the assistant news director at WMNF radio, where he served as creator/anchor/producer of the hour-long WMNF Evening News. A San Francisco native, Mitch began his career at KPFA Radio in Berkeley in the 1990's.

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