Affirmer or Denier? Activist Issues Climate-Change "Litmus Test"
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - It's test time in Tallahassee, as one man wants to get lawmakers and other state leaders to state once and for all where they stand on climate change and the risk it poses to Florida.
Environmental engineer Bart Bibler is the driving force behind what he calls the climate-change "litmus test." In it, he's asking policymakers to acknowledge climate change is real and primarily caused by human activity, and that Florida is particularly vulnerable.
He says Floridians have the right to know where their elected officials stand.
"Because it drives all policy," says Bibler. "And without that fundamental clarity about the position of elected officials, there's all kinds of ambiguity to a renewable future."
So far, only a handful of state lawmakers surveyed have been willing to go on the record as climate-change affirmers.
The full results are posted at Tallahassee350.org, with Bibler including those who refused to respond as "deniers."
Experts say sea level rise driven by climate change threatens Florida's infrastructure, fresh water supply, real estate, beaches and tourism, which is why Bibler believes in an election year in particular, the public needs to know what all candidates and those already in office plan to do about it.
"I hope that this will spread to Congress, to every elected official across America and even globally," says Bibler. "I think it's the fundamental issue of our lifetime. Every local elected official in my city and county is being asked."
Bibler is a former state employee who found himself at the center of controversy last year for allegedly violating the Scott administration's unofficial ban on using the term "climate change."
He received a written reprimand and eventually left the Department of Environmental Protection and is now working for a solar-energy firm.