OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Florida’s Ron DeSantis has praised the Biden administration’s response to Hurricane Ian before and after the monster storm made landfall last week and destroyed entire communities, but there was something that President Joe Biden said during a speech this week that left the Republican governor stone-faced.
Biden, in making remarks about the level of damage Ian left in its wake, used the opportunity to push the left’s narrative about climate change, though earlier in the week, his own acting director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Hurricane Center, Jamie Rhome, refused to do so when CNN’s Don Lemon pushed him on the issue.
“We’re in a situation where the Colorado River looks more like a stream,” Biden said during a speech in Fort Myers on Wednesday afternoon. “There’s a lot going on, and I think the one thing this has finally ended is a discussion about whether or not there’s climate change, and we should do something about it.”
The look on DeSantis’ face following the remarks was telling and noticed by more than a few users on social media, as the governor appeared to visually dismiss the statement as overtly political and without merit.
Biden: “I think the one thing [the hurricane] has ended is the discussion about whether or not there is climate change and we should do something about it.” pic.twitter.com/bBgnJcpvlX
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) October 5, 2022
That said, the governor himself, as well as one of the state’s U.S. senators, Rick Scott, appear to be benefitting politically in regard to the DeSantis administration’s response to the storm. Florida Politics reports:
Both Gov. Ron DeSantis and his immediate predecessor, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, have positive favorable numbers in a new Economist/YouGov poll. DeSantis seems to have especially been buoyed, with polling specific to his hurricane response showing him above water even with Democrats.
A full 55% of all respondents and 61% of likely voters approved of DeSantis’ storm response, against 19% and 21% disapproval, respectively. This buoyancy held for people who voted for President Joe Biden in 2020, with 38% approving of the Governor’s storm handling and 34% disapproving. A full 43% of Democrats approved, with just 34% disapproving.
“The storm response seemed to have a more muted effect on DeSantis’ overall favorable numbers, with 40% of all respondents and 49% of likely voters approving, giving him a +6 overall and a +7 with likely voters nationally,” the report continued.
In his interview with CNN’s Lemon, Rhome pushed back on the suggestion that Hurricane Ian was so strong become of human-caused climate change, noting last month: “We can come back and talk about climate change at a later time. I want to focus on the here and now. We think the rapid intensification is probably almost done.”
Nevertheless, Lemon continued to pursue the issue and claimed that storms have been increasing in intensity over the past several decades.
“I don’t think you can link climate change to any one event. On the whole, on the cumulative, climate change may be making storms worse,” Rhome continued. “But to link it to any one event, I would caution against that.”
Fox News reported: “[O]n Sunday, Michael Shellenberger, an energy policy expert and founder of the group Environmental Progress, tweeted a series of NOAA analyses showing there is no definitive long-term trend in hurricane frequency, there may be a negative trend in land-falling hurricanes since 1900, and there is no long-term trend on increasing hurricane intensity.”
Other experts have also pushed back on Democrats’ and far-left activists’ claims that climate change is caused by human activities and that those activities are worsening storms and making them stronger.
“Trying to blame global warming for Hurricane Ian not only defies scientific evidence — the clear weight of scientific evidence — but it is a despicable politicization of a real tragedy that requires our attention and focus on the people negatively affected,” said James Taylor, the president of conservative think tank Heartland Institute.
“These types of hurricanes existed before SUVs and coal-fired power plants were invented. In fact, they were much more frequent and severe before coal power plants and SUVs,” he went on to say.
In his reelection race, DeSantis is leading his Democratic challenger, Rep. Charlie Crist, by double digits, according to a new survey, despite being viciously assailed by Democrats and left-leaning media outlets for months.