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Climate scientist: Florida ‘not acting fast enough’ Report: Time to act is closing

Climate change impacts and risks are becoming increasingly complex and more difficult to manage. That’s one of the conclusions of the latest global report on climate change from a group of scientists gathered by the United Nations.

The report says rapid decarbonization needs to happen soon for the planet to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, but notes some impacts are already baked in and can’t be stopped. The report repeatedly mentions Florida as an example of a place where some irreversible changes have already happened.

This is the sixth report in the last 30 years from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and it warns more weather and climate extremes have led to irreversible impacts on the environment and society.

"If we do not increase ambition in reducing emissions of heat trapping gases now, basically, you know, ideally a decade ago, we will increasingly encounter hard limits on the effectiveness of those adaptive actions," said Katharine Mach, a lead author on the report and a climate scientist at the University of Miami. "Without coordination by governments and by households, by people on their commute, and by the private sector, we're not going to get far enough in terms of making sure that those adaptive efforts keep people safe."

Higher seas, hotter temperatures, flooding and wetter weather are some of the threats to Florida.

"The scientific evidence is unequivocal: climate change is a threat to human well-being and the health of the planet," the report said. "Any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a livable future.”

Ben Kirtman is professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School and Director of the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies. Among the risks he identifies for Florida are sea level rise fueled by melting ice and warmer ocean temperatures, and hotter overnight temperatures, which requires higher electricity demand to power air conditioning . T hat s erves as a feedback loop for carbon emissions if fossil fuels are used to generate the electricity.

"The state of Florida is not moving fast enough (to address climate change), but that's not entirely the state of Florida's fault," he said. Kirtman pointed to the scientific community for not providing more l