Take Action TODAY to Solve our Climate Crisis: Submit a Comment BEFORE May 12th

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https://www.flrules.org/Gateway/View_notice.asp?id=25791832

Perhaps the most common question I receive during my public talks or in response to posts and social media is Delaney, how can I help solve our climate crisis? And, today the answer is simple: submit a quick comment online in support of the Petition for Rulemaking that three friends and I have gotten approved by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and which sets the rules which will require Florida utilities to transition to using only sustainable energy by 2050.

Today is your chance to help solve our climate crisis starting right here in Florida!

On April 21, 2022, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Commissioner Nikki Fried released a proposed rule that sets goals for Florida utilities to provide 100% renewable energy by 2050. This action responds to the petition for rulemaking that my friends and I filed on January 5, 2022, and represents perhaps the state’s most significant climate policy step ever.

The proposed rule mirrors the language my friends and I suggested and sets the following renewable energy goals for Florida utilities: at least 40% by 2030, 63% by 2035, 82% by 2040, and 100% by 2050. The proposed rule also requires utilities to submit their 10-year energy plans to FDACS so the agency can evaluate whether the utilities’ long-term energy plans are capable of meeting the renewable energy goals, and requires FDACS to annually report the utilities’ progress in meeting the goals to the Public Service Commission, Governor, and Legislature.

Addressing the core cause of our climate change crisis, the use of fossil fuels, will go a long way towards solving the crisis and that’s where you come in!

What You Can Do Today: Take Action TODAY

  1. Between now and May 12 you can submit public comments to FDACS in support of this proposed rule. Public comments can be submitted here: https://www.flrules.org/Gateway/View_notice.asp?id=25791832 
  2. You can also, if preferred, email your views by sending an email to Kelley Smith Burk, FDACS Energy Director, at energy@fdacs.gov.
  3. Your comment need not be long. An example could be something as simple as the following once you click on the link noted above or send an email:

Subject: Transitioning Florida energy’s system to sustainable power by 2050

Comment: Please enact the rule that requires Florida utilities to use 100% sustainable power by 2050. I support cleaning up our climate.

Submitting a public comment is a quick, easy, and impactful action that everyone can take. Please make your comment on-line today.

Please also consider sharing this blog or my social media posts about the public comment opportunity with your networks so we can get the word out to as many people as possible so collectively we can do something to stop the cause of our climate crisis. The more people that take action and comment at this time in support of the rule, the better so please comment today and spread the word ASAP because together we can and will solve our climate crisis. Thank you.

Breaking News: Florida Sets Climate Goal of 100% Renewable Energy by 2050 by Accepting Youth Petition

FDACS Press Conference

Today is a big day for Florida and for our environment.

As a result of the Petition my friends and I filed in January, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried agreed to begin the rulemaking process and today announced the Rule setting the goal that Florida achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050. This Rule holds the promise of starting to solve the cause of our climate crisis, the use of fossil fuels, and I could not be more excited, nor proud.

I’d like to start by thanking my other three youth Petitioners in this historic effort: Valholly, Isaac, and Levi. I must tell you that whether it’s acting as youth plaintiffs in the lawsuit we filed against Governor Scott several years ago or the Rule we are advancing today, it is not easy putting ourselves in the line of fire so to speak, especially so at such young ages, nor is it easy having to make countless sacrifices to fight for our environment. But I know I speak for each of us when I say that the importance of what we are trying to accomplish, what we are trying to protect not only for ourselves but for every future generation is worth the time and sacrifice. So, thank you Valholly, Isaac, and Levi.

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And speaking of young Floridians, allow me to also thank the hundreds of young people all over the state who signed on to support our Petition earlier this year. To each of you I am sincerely grateful and most certainly proud. The work to implement rules to shift Florida’s energy to sustainable solutions will be long and I suspect often hard, but I know I can count on young Floridians to do the right thing, to fix what the adults before us have done and to make Florida a leader in the world-wide fight against our climate change crisis.

I’d like to, of course, thank Commissioner Fried for her leadership in accepting our Petition as well as her staff members Ms. Shelby Scarpa and Mr. Steven Hall for their hard work. Supporting our Petition for Rulemaking requires fortitude and a passion to set political differences aside but, of course, anything truly worthwhile requires such sacrifices and I am proud of each of you for making the right decision and supporting the concerns of not only my friends and me, but future generations forever more.

I’d also like to thank the folks from Our Children’s Trust including Julia Olson and especially my friend, lawyer, and longtime supporter in my desire to see Florida address the cause of climate pollution, Andrea Rogers, as well as Paul Rink and David Schwartz. Allow me to also thank Mitchell Chester, my Ft. Lauderdale based attorney. I’ve known Mitchell since I began working to fix our climate crisis when I’d just become a teenager and I am very grateful for his support and friendship for now nearly a decade, so thank you Mitch.

So on this gorgeous South Florida Spring Day, I’d like to share why today’s announcement is so important, what should happen next and why the opportunity ahead of us is so exciting.

As I mentioned, and as is worth repeating, the promise that the Rule holds is that today Florida can begin to actually address a core cause of our climate crisis: the use of fossil fuels in Florida’s energy system. That’s why today’s announcement and the steps that will follow are so monumentally important to our future.

The 2006 Florida Renewable Energy Policy (§366.92) that the Florida Legislature passed was created to transition our energy sources in Florida to sustainable sources by 2050 and not only better protect our own State but help the United States and the world beyond solve the cause of our climate crisis. Unfortunately, 12 years have passed since that law was created and in that time our government has done nearly nothing to embrace the 2006 law’s promise of shifting Florida’s energy sources to entirely sustainable ones.

That is until today when inaction transitions into action.

And speaking of politics, some elected leaders would have you believe that they are committed to addressing our climate crisis by strictly touting mitigation and resiliency efforts.

Unfortunately, it is true that we have no choice but to work to mitigate the damage mankind has already done and continues to do to our atmosphere and oceans by employing measures you can find all over South Florida such as seawalls, raising roads, and installing pumps as just a few examples.

But if we are to ever actually solve what’s causing our climate change crisis it will not be through mitigation and resiliency but by having our leaders, both private and public, actually address the foundational cause.

Now I might only be 22 but it seems to me that rather than allowing the problem to get worse by the day, rather than throwing away hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, and in time trillions, to try and mitigate the problem we should be trying to solve what’s causing the problem: the use of fossil fuels all over our planet, including most certainly right here in Florida.

Is that not a worthy goal of our public servants, those elected to help us? I sure think so and, with that in mind, I am calling on our elected officials to embrace the rule making process and help nudge our energy providers to becoming 100% sustainable by 2050.

And speaking of Florida’s energy providers, I call on each of you to also embrace the Rule and to transparently work with the State and public to meet the goal of only utilizing sustainable energy on or before 2050. Together we can transition our energy sources to sustainable ones.

To Eric Silagy, Florida Power and Light’s CEO, and both my local power company and Florida’s largest energy company, I’d like to challenge you and your parent company, NextEra Energy, to openly and publicly embrace this transition and the Rule that is about to be established in a transparent manner. I ask you to set aside the PR and expensive television advertising touting your supposed commitment to sustainable energy and ask that we work together to shift your energy sources to being 100% sustainable by 2050.

FPL has been in business here in Florida since 1925 and after nearly 100 years sources less than 3% of its energy from solar, from the sun. Remarkably, FPL sources nearly the same amount of its energy from coal and oil. Mr. Silagy, FPL can and must do better and I call on you to embrace the rulemaking process to work with us to make this a reality.

I also want to very specifically ask Florida Governor DeSantis to set the political rhetoric aside and to publicly embrace the rule making process and in doing so demand that Florida’s energy suppliers shift entirely to sustainable sources. If you are serious about protecting our environment, about Florida’s future and about lowering energy costs for Floridians then today’s news should be easy for you to support.

Allow me to also address a couple of the reasons why today’s news is so filled with opportunity for our state.

Some, of course, will suggest that one state within one country can’t have an impact in helping solve the climate crisis but I do not agree. Consider that according to the Florida Chamber Foundation, if Florida were a country of its own then our economy would be the 17th largest in the world. And soon will be the 15th largest and by 2030 Florida is projected to be the 10th largest ahead of entire countries such as Russia, Brazil, and Spain to name just three. With 22 million residents, a number expected to grow to at least 26 million by the end of this decade, Florida most certainly has the size and scope to make a real difference in solving our climate crisis and to lead the way for others to surely follow.

 And since we are in sunny South Florida let’s consider that according to the World Economic Forum 79% of the United States’ energy demand could be met by solar power and enhanced battery systems by 2050, while also lowering energy system costs. And that’s just from solar power.

I’ve grown up part-time in a solar powered home and it has long seemed to me that in a place called The Sunshine State, the State of Florida government should embrace and facilitate solar power both as the major source of our energy but as an industry. Can you imagine a day when most of Florida’s energy comes from the sun? Or for that matter a day where our state is the worldwide leader in manufacturing solar equipment, panels, and batteries? Unfortunately, Florida is nowhere near where it could be, but today’s news is a step in the right direction.

And speaking of good news, in 2021 the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy concluded that the State of Florida has the most capacity for solar energy in the entire Southeast. 17 States have already committed to shifting to 100% renewable energy within the next three decades and cities here in Florida such as Orlando and Sarasota have committed to the same goal. This is what citizens of the United States want, this is what citizens of the State of Florida want and, it’s what our environment needs and deserves so today’s news certainly helps us take a step in the right direction and for that I am very, very grateful.

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Thanks again to everyone who has worked so hard to make today’s announcement a reality. I can’t begin to emphasize enough how important it is that we take real action to eliminate our fossil fuel use before its too late, before more of Florida’s 1,350 miles of coastline disappear and before special places like Miami Beach, the Everglades, or the Florida Keys are lost forever.

Thank you to everyone who was involved in writing the petition, signed the petition, and to Commissioner Fried and her staff for implementing the Rule.

Happy Earth Week everyone!

Two Generations Fighting A Common Enemy: Climate Change

“At some point I began to think that it’s both morally wrong and impractical to expect the biggest problem in the world [our climate crisis] be solved by 17 year old’s. To sorta tell them that between algebra homework and field hockey practice they also have to solve the biggest problem in the world.”
Bill McKibben; Author, Activist & Environmentalist

In honor of Earth Day 2022 this coming Friday, I am pleased to share a new interview by NPR/WLRN’s Tom Hudson that explores the perspectives and hopes of two distinctly different generations: older American “Baby Boomers,” as represented by renowned climate educator, author, and activist Bill McKibben; and my own thoughts on behalf of young Americans.

Mr. McKibben is a legend in the fight to solve our climate crisis and the founder of the esteemed climate advocacy campaign, 350.Org and, more recently, ThirdAct.Org. Having written 20 books to-date, he is a prolific communicator and his 1989 book The End of Nature is considered one of the first widely read works about climate change. He is deeply concerned over the damage his generation has done to our planet and believes strongly that Baby Boomers should actively work to solve our climate crisis rather than leave the problem to their children, grandchildren, and future generations.

As Mr. McKibben points out during the interview, while young folks like myself are only beginning to build our lives, people in his generation control over 70% of the world’s assets and should, he feels, use their time, votes, and financial resources to help solve the problem including the core cause of the crisis: eradicating fossil fuel use. I could not agree more.

We cover generational politics, energy solutions including solar power, activism, and even the Florida Petition for Rulemaking that I have been leading with three other young Floridians. You can listen to the story by visiting the following link: https://www.wlrn.org/2022-04-18/how-two-generations-are-fighting-climate-change-by-focusing-on-finance-and-age. You can also read a bit about the interview within the article below that WLRN posted today:

How two generations are fighting climate change by focusing on finance and age

Published April 18, 2022 at 12:19 PM EDT

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Lynne Sladky / AP

A woman walks along a flooded street caused by a king tide, Sept. 28, 2019, in Miami Beach, Fla. Low-lying neighborhoods in South Florida are vulnerable to the seasonal flooding caused by king tides.

Delaney Reynolds and Bill McKibben are from different generations and live on opposite ends of the East Coast. Both have committed themselves toward fighting climate change and rallying politicians and people, while increasingly focusing on finance.

As a teenager, Delaney Reynolds took on the state of Florida over climate change. She was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit over pollution. Lawyers for the state argued there is no legal guarantee to protect the climate from the causes of climate change.

A state circuit court judge eventually dismissed the case. The judge said the concerns in the lawsuit were legitimate, but ruled they were not a matter for the court.

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Reynolds wasn’t discouraged. She and others then demanded the state follow two laws passed several years ago directing the Department of Agriculture to come up with goals to switch electricity production from fossil fuels to renewable energy. A month after submitting the petition, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services filed notice that it was working on coming up with a rule, including “the gradual phaseout of energy production from non-renewable sources.”

About 70% of electricity generated by FPL, the largest electricity provider in the state, comes from natural gas.

Reynolds expects an announcement about those goals will be made Friday — on Earth Day.

“It’s going to be, quite honestly, a landmark change for the state of Florida when it comes to climate solutions, and I’m very excited about it,” she said.

The Department of Agriculture would not confirm any announcement to WLRN. If the commissioner sets goals for Florida electricity to come from renewable energy, it would be the first specific timeline by the state government setting targets to reduce greenhouse gases and increase clean energy.

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Rebecca Blackwell / AP

Climate activist Delaney Reynolds, 22, speaks at a press conference where U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla, was announcing a solar power initiative, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, in South Miami.

Reynolds grew up in Miami and the Lower Keys. She’s now studying for a law degree and a PhD in environmental science and policy at the University of Miami.

She may be in her early 20s, but Reynolds has been active since she was a teenager, working to raise awareness among kids and young adults about the threat of sea level rise, especially in South Florida. She has grown frustrated by the lack of action by older generations.

“I would say that we’re fed up with it, quite honestly. I think that that’s something that we’ve seen manifesting over the last few years,” she said.

A veteran of environmental and climate activism agrees. Bill McKibben has been arguing to pay attention to climate change since the late 1980s before the phrase ‘climate change’ was well-known outside of the scientific and environmental communities.

In his first book, The End of Nature, McKibben wrote, “Changes that can affect us can happen in our lifetime in our world — not just changes like wars but bigger and more sweeping events. I believe that without recognizing it we have already stepped over the threshold of such a change: that we are at the end of nature.”

That was in 1989.

LISTEN MORE: Bonus podcast with McKibben on why he thinks Russia’s war in Ukraine may be a turning point for fossil fuel.

“It’s both wrong, morally and impractical, to demand the biggest problems in the world be solved by 17 year olds — to tell them that in between algebra homework and field hockey practice, they also have to save the world,” he said during an interview while visiting South Florida in March.

Both activists are focused on marshaling their peers and the power of commerce on climate change. For McKibben, that means asking people over 60 to use their economic power to influence corporate climate behavior.

“We vote in astonishing numbers. So nothing happens in Washington without our say so. And fairly or not, we ended up with all the money,” McKibben said.

BillMcKibben

Photo / Nancie Battaglia 

Author and environmental activist Bill McKibben.

That concentration of assets is a focus for McKibben’s latest call-to-action for his fellow Baby Boomers. He founded Third Act last year to organize people over the age of 60. And he knows Floridians are a key audience with its rapidly growing over-60 population.

“I think that older Floridians have to make a choice,” he said. He described that choice as reflected in a bumper sticker that boasts “I’m spending my kid’s inheritance,” or “defending their kid’s inheritance.”

He’s asking older consumers to leverage their spending power by threatening to cancel credit cards and close accounts at four big banks by the end of the year unless the banks stop helping finance fossil fuel projects.

“The most important thing an individual can do at this point is be less of an individual. Join together with others in movements large enough to shift the economics and the politics,” he said. “We’re past the point where we can actually solve this crisis one Tesla at a time. We need to be able to move it one senator time, one government at a time.”

Reynolds’ generation may not have the spending power or the voting power yet. “We’re not the biggest population right now. That’s the older generation — the Baby Boomers — so they often dominate the voting numbers,” she said. “But I think that as we start to vote more and more as we realize that this is a very important way for us to get our voice out and to get things like climate change solved, we’re going to see even more of that.”

“Politics, politics, politics” is the lesson Reynolds said she learned from her unsuccessful climate lawsuit against the state. “It gets in the way of everything. It’s a long process, is what I learned,” she said.

But politics is a reality. This spring as state lawmakers debated a measure formally creating a statewide Office of Resilience and requiring the state transportation department to develop a resilience plan, an amendment to expand the office’s duties to “reduce the root causes of sea level rise and flooding” was defeated.

Delaney’s Generation Z has a slight edge in numbers over Baby Boomers, according to Census Bureau data from 2020. By the inexact definitions of generations, Millennials is the largest generation by population.

“I think that the way that we spend our money is incredibly important, and I think that it’s something that we have to think about more and more,” Reynolds said. “So as we move forward through to the future, it’s going to be expensive to solve climate change, even on the individual level.”

TomHudson

Tom Hudson

In a journalism career covering news from high global finance to neighborhood infrastructure, Tom Hudson is the Vice President of News and Special Correspondent for WLRN. He hosts and produces the Sunshine Economy and anchors the Florida Roundup in addition to leading the organization’s news engagement strategy.

Thanks again to Tom Hudson, Polly Landess, and everyone at WLRN for so often bringing attention to our climate crisis and the dire risks South Florida faces from this threat. And, thanks to Bill McKibben for being such an incredible inspiration and advocate for so many decades.

I will have more news to share with you later in the week including some important, historic steps the State of Florida is finally taking in the battle against the man-made pollution that causes climate change, so please look for that in the days to come and consider sharing it with your friends and family. No matter your age or generation it is only together as a society that we will ever solve our climate crisis and I look forward to working with each of you in this most important, yet noble, of causes.

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