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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Florida lawmakers try again for 100-percent clean energy by 2050

Posted By on Tue, Aug 27, 2019 at 4:57 PM

  • Photo by Global Panorama via Flickr
The Amazon is burning, Trump skipped out on the G7 climate change meeting, and the rise in global temperatures is helping a flesh-eating bacteria spread.

All in all, not a great week for planet Earth.

As legislators try to combat climate change on a global and national scale, Florida lawmakers are trying to start at the state level. Again.

Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, filed HB 97 on Tuesday, essentially refiling an earlier bill that seeks to get Florida at 100 percent clean energy by 2050. The bill's short-term goal is to have 40 percent of Florida's electricity come from renewable energy by 2030.

Eskamani filed similar legislation in March — HB 1291 — but the proposed law died in the energy and utilities subcommittee.
“Floridians are already feeling the effects of a warmer world,” Eskamani said in a press release. “From mosquitoes and hurricanes to harmful algal 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.”

The bill calls on all public agencies, state-run colleges and universities and public utilities to take part. It plans to remove fossil fuel consumption and add in electrical generating facilities, emphasizing the use of solar power as a renewable source.

Eskamani is filing legislation alongside State Sen. José Javier Rodríguez, D-Miami.
"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," Rodriguez said in a press release. "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."

In a joint press release, the lawmakers said clean energy will stimulate the economy by bringing more jobs to the solar field and ease real estate investors concerns given the costs associated with climate-driven disasters.

They said it will curb an ongoing public health crisis as well, citing a 2005 scientific article published by Elsevier that linked more than 2,500 premature deaths in Florida to air pollution caused by electricity generation.

At the local level, Orlando already has its own clean energy goals set. The Orlando City Council agreed to adopt 100 percent clean energy by 2020 back in 2017.

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