DeSantis Law Gets On-Air Rebuke From a Torqued Meteorologist

NBC Miami's Steve McLaughlin goes off on Florida for scrubbing climate change efforts from state law
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2024 8:34 AM CDT
Weatherman Takes on DeSantis Over Climate Change Law
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is seen March 7, 2023, at the state Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida.   (AP Photo/Phil Sears, File)

Not everyone is happy with Gov. Ron DeSantis' latest legislation minimizing efforts to fight climate change in the state of Florida—including, apparently, Steve McLaughlin, a meteorologist for NBC Miami. McLaughlin posted a minute-long video online on Saturday talking about the new law set to take effect in July, in which most references to climate change have been nixed, and which no longer requires the Sunshine State to consider climate change when crafting policy. The Florida law also bars offshore wind turbines, streamlines the approval process for natural-gas pipelines, and strips out language allowing for state officials to set renewable energy goals. "'Don't Say Climate Change!'" McLaughlin wrote on X. "As Florida is on fire, under water and unaffordable, our state government is rolling back climate change legislation and language."

McLaughlin slammed the law, which he says was put into place "in spite of the fact that the state of Florida, over the last couple of years, has seen record heat, record flooding, record rain, record insurance rates, and the corals are dying all around the state." The Hill notes that, in 2023, Florida saw its hottest year yet since the late 1800s, registering an annual average of 73.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Axios notes that on the day of McLaughlin's message, Miami's heat index logged a "feels like" temperature of 112 degrees; Sunday saw the same results. Florida's heat wave also recently hit "Level 5" status, the highest level, with Climate Central's Climate Shift Index, suggesting that "human-caused climate change made this excessive heat at least five times more likely," per the Washington Post.

DeSantis' second term as governor runs through the end of 2026, and McLaughlin didn't go so far as to explicitly advise his viewers not to vote for the GOP in November. "We will never tell you who to vote for, but we will tell you this: We implore you to please do your research and know that there are candidates that believe in climate change and that there are solutions, and there are candidates that don't," he says in his video. McLaughlin also says he didn't get the all clear from NBC Miami before issuing his "scathing critique," per the Post, but he adds he was careful not to mention DeSantis or any political party specifically. "I think that's where I would have gotten in trouble," he wrote to Axios. "But my bosses have been so supportive." (More climate change stories.)

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