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Governor Scott Says He’ll Meet Scientists On Climate Change

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DAVIE, FL - MARCH 28:  Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks to the media as he attends the ribbon cutting for the opening of a I-595 Express Project on March 28, 2014 in Davie, Florida. The Governor finds himself dogged by questions about recent resignations by one of his top fundraisers, Mike Fernandez, as well as Gonzalo Sanabria, a longtime Miami-Dade Expressway Authority board member, who is reported to have resigned Thursday from his post to protest the disparaging and disrespectful treatment of Mike Fernandez, the former co-finance chairman of Gov. Rick Scotts campaign."  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

DAVIE, FL – MARCH 28: Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks to the media as he attends the ribbon cutting for the opening of a I-595 Express Project on March 28, 2014 in Davie, Florida. The Governor finds himself dogged by questions about recent resignations by one of his top fundraisers, Mike Fernandez, as well as Gonzalo Sanabria, a longtime Miami-Dade Expressway Authority board member, who is reported to have resigned Thursday from his post to protest the disparaging and disrespectful treatment of Mike Fernandez, the former co-finance chairman of Gov. Rick Scotts campaign.” (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – Scientists from several Florida universities sent a letter to the state’s governor, asking for his attention regarding climate change.

The letter, signed by experts in marine systems, atmospheric sciences and other climate change-related fields at the University of Miami, Florida State University, Eckerd College and Florida International University, was delivered to Governor Rick Scott.

Scott and other Republicans have been skeptical of global warming and the governor has worked with the GOP-controlled Legislature to dismantle climate change initiatives.

“I’m not a scientist,” Scott said after a federal report highlighted Florida among areas most vulnerable to the effects of global warning and rising sea levels.

Scott said Wednesday his administration would be “happy to meet” with the 10 scientists.

In a statement about the letter, Scott said he was “focused on solutions we can implement to protect our land, water and families.”

“We have made environmental restoration a top priority – investing record amounts in the Everglades and Springs projects all across Florida, even many that were not prioritized by the previous administration,” he said.

The letter was signed by experts in marine systems, atmospheric sciences and other climate change-related fields at the University of Miami, Florida State University, Eckerd College and Florida International University.

“We are scientists and we would like the opportunity to explain what is at stake for our state,” the scientists wrote.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given Florida a target of cutting its carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 38 percent by the year 2030, as part of the Obama administration’s effort to reduce emissions nationwide by nearly a third over the next 15 years.

Florida will choose how to meet that goal, and the scientists wrote that they hoped to provide Scott with the latest climate science as the state prepares those plans.

“Those of us signing this letter have spent hundreds of years combined studying this problem, not from any partisan political perspective, but as scientists — seekers of evidence and explanations,” the letter said.

The letter’s delivery was first reported by the Miami Herald.

Scott, who is running for re-election, has worked to dismantle climate change initiatives put into place by his predecessor and current opponent, Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist.

Florida’s other top Republicans, including possible 2016 presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush, also have challenged climate science.

The letter comes as the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy lead a statewide “What’s your plan, Gov?” campaign seeking energy alternatives and transparency as state agencies work to meet the federal carbon pollution standards.

 

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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