Florida Sen: Republicans Who Reject Climate Change Are ‘Denying Reality’

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., talks to a group of Haitian community leaders, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, in the Little Haiti area in Miami. Nelson called on the administration to extend Temporary Protected Status for the nea... Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., talks to a group of Haitian community leaders, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, in the Little Haiti area in Miami. Nelson called on the administration to extend Temporary Protected Status for the nearly 60,000 Haitians living in the U.S. until at least July, 2019. Such extensions are typically renewed for 18-month intervals, but the latest announcement in May said it would expire in six months. Haitians granted the protection can live and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz) MORE LESS
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September 13, 2017 8:02 a.m.
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Republican members of Congress and Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) are “denying reality” by refusing to acknowledge the role that climate change has played in the two recent hurricanes that have rocked U.S. coastal communities in the past month, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) told Politico Tuesday.

“It’s denying reality,” Nelson said. “You can call it politics or whatever, but the Earth is getting hotter. This storm is another reminder of what we’re going to have to deal with in the future.”

As a former astronaut, Nelson said climate change and the greenhouse effect have warmed the waters and caused sea levels around Florida to rise in recent decades, which helped fuel the size of Hurricane Irma, he said, saying the issue is not political.

“It’s certainly going to be an important issue, and if certain people such as the one you mentioned is my opponent, there’s a significant contrast in what we believe,” Nelson told Politico, referencing Scott, who will likely be Nelson’s opponent in the 2018 Senate race and has questioned climate science in the past.

He said he thinks Republicans should explain why they think “99.5 percent of scientists” are wrong climate change.

“It’s ironic isn’t it?” Nelson said, questioning why politicians are so quick to believe government scientists when they make predictions about when hurricanes are coming, but not on climate change predictions.

“They accept the hurricane information, but deny the climate information.”

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