California's Brown Feuds With Florida's Scott on Climate

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By Anthony Adragna

May 2 — It started out as a fight about which state had a better business climate, but then California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) shifted directions to skewer Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) for refusing to act on climate change.

“If you’re truly serious about Florida’s economic well-being, it’s time to stop the silly political stunts and start doing something about climate change,” Brown said in a May 2 letter to Scott. “The threat is real and so too will be the devastating impacts.”

Brown's letter came as Scott arrived in California on a mission to lure companies to the Sunshine State. “On my way to tell [California] businesses why [Florida] has the best business climate,” the Florida governor tweeted May 1.

Jackie Schutz, a spokeswoman for Scott, told Bloomberg BNA May 2 that Brown “can bring up any issues he wants” but said Scott believes the California governor “continues to do things that make it harder for businesses.”

Scott's trip drew the attention of the four-term California governor, who has frequently called out Republicans around the country for denying the scientific consensus that human activity causes climate change.

Brown encouraged Scott to read a nonpartisan report that concluded that Florida “faces more risk than any other state” from the impacts of climate change.

“So, while you’re enjoying a stroll on one of California’s beautiful beaches this week, don’t stick your head in the sand,” Brown said in his letter. “There’s no time to waste.”

Brown's letter referred to reports in 2015 that officials in the state's Department of Environmental Protection were not permitted to use the terms “global warming” and “climate change” in official documents. Scott called those reports “not true” in March 2015.

There are a spectrum of views among Florida Republicans on climate change.

Scott quipped “I'm not a scientist” several times during his successful 2014 reelection campaign when asked about the issue, but others, like Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) who formed a bipartisan House climate change caucus aimed at reaching agreement on solutions to the problem, have been outspoken on the need for action (76 ECR, 4/20/16).

To contact the reporter on this story: Anthony Adragna in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at