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Florida Should Get Rid Of Coal-Fired Power Plants Now, Climate Scientists Say

Gina Jordan/WLRN

Gov. Rick Scott sat down for half an hour this week with climate scientists who want him to take immediate action to deal with climate change.

A few of those same scientists took their message to the Internet Thursday.

Seas are projected to rise at least two to four feet by the turn of the century, and  University of Miami atmospheric science professor Ben Kirtman says they're rising now. He cites frequent flooding along Alton Road in Miami Beach – when there’s no rain.

"Projections out to 2100 for sea level rise depend on what we decide as a society to do with burning of fossil fuels," Kirtman says. "Human activities are going to determine what the future sea level rise is going to be. So we’re at an important moment in time here.”

Kirtman and two other Florida scientists participated in a webinar Thursday hosted by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. They said they would have liked more time with the governor, and they’re frustrated that the science of climate change has been turned into a political debate.

“The costs for not taking action every year increase with every year as the sea level rises,” says Eckerd College marine science professor David Hastings, “the streets of Miami are flooded, our fresh drinking water is contaminated by rising seas and the salt water. We’re seeing increased intensity of storms. Coral reefs are dying off.”

The group says the best action to take now is to reduce or eliminate coal-fired power plants that emit greenhouse gasses. Florida has fifteen coal-fired plants.

Gov. Scott hasn’t said what his next steps will be.