NewsPinellas County


Florida state representative proposes bill that would focus on climate change

Posted at 5:19 PM, Apr 19, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — This week scientists ruled Hurricane Michael was a Category 5 when it hit Florida’s panhandle.

State Representative Ben Diamond (D-St. Petersburg) says there could be more to come.

RELATED: Hurricane Michael was a Category 5 storm when it made landfall, according to a post-storm analysis

“The impact to the communities there were devastating. What we are learning is that because of climate change, hurricanes are becoming stronger.”

Diamond says Florida is prime to feel the impact of those stronger hurricanes, along with rising sea levels and rising temperatures.

“Obviously in Pinellas County we're hanging out on a peninsula, these issues are going to impact us.”

That’s why he’s introducing a bill to the state legislature that would create a Florida Climate and Resilience Research Program.

Despite the often political division on the issue of climate change, Diamond says this bill has support from both parities.

“That’s going to have an impact on the affordability of property insurance in this state, the availability of flood insurance, our emergency management response.”

The new program would look at what climate change is costing Floridians state wide and what it will cost in the future.

“We have to be working on this. Floridians expect us to be doing that work.”