TALLAHASSEE (AP) — Former Gov. Charlie Crist was given a climate-change lecture Friday and used the opportunity to point out that Republican Gov. Rick Scott isn’t saying much about the issue.
Crist, now seeking his old job as a Democrat, was considered a national Republican leader on the topic when he served from 2007 to 2011 — twice holding climate-change summits that attracted international experts.
The candidate said Friday that he continues to believe it is a serious issue that threatens Florida, the state most vulnerable to rising sea levels. So the half-hour presentation from Florida State University environmental science professor Jeffrey Chanton wasn’t to convince Crist there’s a problem.
“It’s to try to push the dialogue,” Crist said. “I’m convinced. I’m a believer and I notice that my opponent, Rick Scott, would not meet with this wonderful scientist. It’s important for people who have the opportunity to help direct policy to be open-minded and to listen.”
Chanton and nine other scientists offered to meet with Scott on climate change after the governor deflected a question on the topic, saying he wasn’t an expert. Crist immediately said he would meet with the scientists. Scott later said he would also meet with them, but he hasn’t scheduled anything.
“I haven’t heard from his office directly,” Chanton said. “I’m sure he hasn’t gotten around to it yet. I’m just waiting by the phone.”
Scott’s campaign on Friday didn’t directly answer questions about whether the governor believes climate change exists and whether humans are causing our contributing to it. Instead, the campaign twice pointed out that Scott supports restoring the Everglades and other water projects.
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