A TV meteorologist criticizes the new Florida law that eliminated most mentions of climate change


South Florida TV meteorologist Steve MacLaughlin urged his viewers to vote and blasted the state’s new legislation, which removed most references to climate change from state law, while large portions of Florida sweltered in unbearable heat over the weekend.

“Florida is leading the world in climate change,” NBC 6’s MacLaughlin stated in a segment on May 18. “Climate change is no longer a top priority, according to our government.”

MacLaughlin’s remarks are made while South Florida experiences unusually high temperatures for May. The National Weather Service issued the first May heat advisory in fifteen years on Friday due to the exceptionally high temperatures. For parts of South Florida, this has been the warmest May on record thus far this month.

A few days prior, Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, signed into law a contentious bill that removed several allusions to climate change from state statutes. MacLaughlin dubbed this policy “Don’t Say Climate Change” in his X post.

It altered the state’s energy policy in a number of ways, sometimes eliminating whole paragraphs that addressed how critical it is to reduce pollution that warms the world. Additionally, it prohibited offshore wind energy even though there are no proposed wind farms off the coast of Florida and gave preference to fossil fuels.

Severe coral bleaching has devastated Florida’s coastal ecosystems, and rising sea levels will eventually submerge the state’s residences and commercial establishments. The word “climate” was removed from the measure eight times, most frequently in regard to lowering fossil fuel emissions through energy policy or ordering state agencies to purchase “climate friendly” goods when they were reasonably priced and readily available.

“Remember that the most potent remedy for climate change is the one you already possess in your hands: the ability to vote,” MacLaughlin urged. We would never advise you on who to vote for, but we will ask that you please do your homework and be aware that some candidates support climate change and believe that there are solutions, while other candidates do not.

As climate communicators, journalists, meteorologists, and national weather services have reported an increase in harassment, threats, and abuse for linking extreme weather events to climate change, other TV meteorologists applauded MacLaughlin for making such a strong statement.

In response to the video clip MacLaughlin had posted on X, which has received over 350,000 views, Jeff Berardelli, chief meteorologist at WFLA in Tampa Bay, stated, “This is not an easy statement for a meteorologist to make, as there is a lot of pressure to not wade into these climate waters.” “Serious props to Steve for his audacity and integrity.”

An Iowa news station’s top TV meteorologist resigned last year in response to a string of abusive letters she received from fans.

John Morales, a certified consulting meteorologist with ClimaData and the former head meteorologist at NBC Miami, stated on X that “this is a time like no other to be courageous.” He urged other meteorologists to do the same.

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