Hurricane Relief

Once upon a time, Charlie Crist was that rarest of species–a prominent Republican politician who didn’t think human-caused climate change was an Al Gore-invented hoax, like so many of his wingnut brethren. Crist’s respect for science generated outrage from the degenerates in his party; after making an ill-fated effort to appeal to their ignorance, Crist eventually severed ties with the “Gas and Oil Party,” as Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts once called it.

Crist is now a Democrat, and is now poised to reclaim the Florida governorship, which he held from 2007 to 2011. This time, Crist suggests, there will be no pandering to the pea-brained:

In an interview, Crist said that he plans to, if elected, revive his climate summits and the executive orders he issued during his term that called for cutting power plant emissions, requiring the use of alternate fuels and rewriting building codes to require more energy efficiency. He said he would also explore additional steps to expand the use of solar and wind power…

[I]n his first State of the State address in 2007 he called climate change “one of the most important issues that we will face this century.” He pledged to “bring together the brightest minds” and “place our state at the forefront of a growing worldwide movement to reduce greenhouse gases.”

That year he convened a two-day climate change summit in Miami that attracted 600 participants, including California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Then Crist announced he would make far-reaching changes in the state’s energy policies: cutting power plant emissions, requiring the use of alternate fuels and increasing energy efficiency…

When Florida Power & Light, the state’s biggest utility, tried to put a $5.7 billion coal-fired power plant next to the Everglades, Crist prodded his appointees on the Public Service Commission to turn it down based on climate concerns — the first time the PSC had rejected a new power plant in 15 years. That decision effectively quashed other proposed coal-fired plants.

Crist called the vote “the right decision for the environment, the right decision for the Everglades and the right decision for Florida.” But it earned him the enmity of the state’s major electric utilities, which are supporting [current Republican Governor Rick] Scott.

Florida, of course, is (literally) ground-zero for the climate crisis in the United States, and it would be nice for Florida to once again have a governor who listens to scientists, as opposed to a governor who simply says he’s not one. During the course of his high-profile race, a group of climate-conscious evangelicals have urged Scott to turn from his wicked ways on warming. With all due respect to those evangelicals, I’m praying that Crist politically smites Scott on November 4.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.