Environmental policiesPolicy and Affairs

Beating Trump with Denial: what says Ron DeSantis on climate

The current governor of Florida will challenge tycoon in the Republicans primary for this year’s presidential election

(sustainabilityenvironment.com) – Hurricanes? They’re not more intense because of the climate crisis. Global warming? “Leftist stuff“. Any position on climate that is not immediately expendable for your election campaign? It is just an undue “politicization of climate“. All of which Ron Desantis, Trump’s challenger in the Republican primary to take over the White House in 2024, is firmly convinced of. Ron Desantis’ words on climate put him in a corner of climate deniers if possible even more problematic than that of the former president.

The launch of his campaign, on 24 May, already reveals much of his position. The stage is virtual: the event was held on Twitter, now owned by Elon Musk, who in recent months has stood out for its positions of the extreme right and at least problematic climate change (the collapse of births would be a much more serious problem than the climate crisis, he said recently).

But in addition to unleashing all the classic paraphernalia of the Republican Party of these years and not only – against any control of arms, against the right to abortion, fiercely against immigration, contrary to basic measures such as masks during the pandemic, contrary to the Critical Race Theory that frames American history also on the basis of the exploitation of slavery and white supremacist sentiment – the current governor of Florida also espouses positions on the climate that they fight with the current scientific consensus summary from the IPCC reports.

Ron DeSantis’s views on climate

In a recent interview with Fox News, speaking with former US Congressman Trey Gowdy – a convinced denier – he said that the increase in intensity of hurricanes that hit his state does not depend on climate change. The intensification due to anthropic causes, on the contrary, is proven and depends on the increase of the surface temperature of the ocean.

In the same interview, Ron Desantis’s position on climate and the role of government in the climate crisis emerges. The basic assumption is that a “politicization of the climate” would be underway. Expression with which Desantis does not allude to the use of climate dossiers for political purposes and for the protection of consolidated interests carried out above all (but not only) by the Republicans, for example in the defense of the fossil industry. On the contrary, the “politicization of climate” would be the simple transposition, by politics, of the scientific consensus and the indications of policies provided by climate scientists. And while Desantis is convinced that emissions must be reduced, he believes that this can be done with the most classic neo-liberal recipes: encouraging innovation in the private sector. While the government, for its part, should not interfere at all. Not even to regulate the volumes of emissions of the various production sectors.

If you look at his actions as governor of Florida, however, a figure emerges a little different from what we can build on the basis of his most recent statements, when the preparation of the election campaign for the presidential was already underway. RonDeSantis’ climate actions are many, starting with millions of dollars of funds invested in preparing the most vulnerable communities for rising sea levels. He even appointed an official to supervise and coordinate all adaptation efforts. Much weaker, however, his resume on the front of mitigation measures. In fact, it is precisely these measures, on all the policies of reducing greenhouse gases, that Trump’s challenger has defined “leftist stuff“. Dealing with the effects of the climate crisis while denying the main causes, evidently, does not make him a champion of climate.

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