Retiring Republican Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, in a blog post for the Ocean Conservancy, cited the many economical reasons for her region to embrace climate change action. With Miami alone supporting an annual tourist industry of more than $25 billion, 175,000 jobs across the state in commercial and recreational fishing, and local economic benefits to South Florida’s coral reefs, she called it “critical” to “identify climate solutions” for the Sunshine State.
“The ocean is warming and becoming increasingly acidic as it absorbs carbon emissions from the atmosphere. Warmer, more acidic sea water means coral reefsthe very backbone of our tourism, fishing and recreational ocean economieshave trouble making the skeletons necessary for their survival,” she wrote. She pointed to sea level rise as a “serious challenge for Miami residents and other South Florida communities” as well as highlighting ocean acidification as “weakening the limestone that is the very foundation of Florida. Scientists are concerned that this spells more trouble for reefs and the impacts of sea level rise on our low-lying communities.” Ros-Lehtinen is a co-sponsor of the Stefanik climate resolution and a member of the House Climate Solutions Caucus. She has championed ocean health bills in Congress.
“I believe that together, we can identify solutions to climate change that are economically viable and preserve our coastal communities, our culture and our way of life,” she wrote.