Climate Change

Hogan Creek spills over into the streets of Downtown Jacksonville as a storm passes offshore in November of 2019.
Sean Lahav / Northeast Florida Regional Council

Coastal communities across the state and nation, including some First Coast beaches, saw record high-tide flooding in 2020, and that trend is expected to continue into 2022 and beyond, according to a new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

A new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows coastal communities across the country saw record-setting high-tide flooding last year.

Nicole LeBoeuf, acting director of NOAA's National Ocean Service, said the eastern Gulf of Mexico — including Florida — saw nine flood days last year. That's a 600% increase since the year 2000.

LeBouef says it's only going to get worse.

Anne Coglianese
Travis Lux / WWNO

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has picked a candidate for Chief Resiliency Officer, a new position that’s charged with helping the city prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Ponte Vedra Beach on March 19, 2020.
Heather Schatz / WJCT News

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is looking to get feedback from residents of St. Johns County as it prepares to conduct a study looking at coastal storm damages and risks along the shores of Ponte Vedra Beach.

train with "CSX" on side
Associated Press

The Jacksonville-based rail company CSX said new technology will help meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 37% by the end of the decade, after a 2019 report said CSX’s annual energy consumption has steadily been decreasing since at least 2016. 

A view of the FPL Solar Center in West Kendall, which is west of Miami near the Everglades.
Andrew Quintana / WLRN

As distributed solar adoption slowed across the Southeast due to the coronavirus pandemic, utility-scale solar made significant gains. Meanwhile, the state of Florida became the region’s leader in installed solar capacity.

An aerial view of Jacksonville.
DroneBase via AP

Homes facing high flood risks are selling for nearly 14% more than the typical home with low flood risk, according to a new report from Redfin.

Rooftop solar panels
Pujanak / Wikimedia Commons

The Green Cove Springs City Council voted Tuesday night to reduce the amount it reimburses rooftop solar customers for excess power.

A man uses a wet towel to cool off.
Mark Lennihan / Associated Press

Climate change is leading to rising summer temperatures across most of the U.S., including in Jacksonville, according to Climate Central. On top of that, dangerously hot days are becoming more common and record-breaking heat events are happening more frequently.

Rooftop solar panels on top of Grayson Jones' Green Cove Springs home.
Grayson Jones

Grayson Jones grew up in Green Cove Springs.

He installed rooftop solar panels on his childhood home back in September to lower his energy costs. He officially closed on the home last week. But after a few months, he noticed his bills were actually higher. So, he gave the city a call to find out what was going on.

Broward is almost ready to buy 60 new electric school buses. First, though, the school district wants to set up charging stations, according to Vehicle Maintenance Manager Tommy Fitzpatrick.

“It’s better not to put the cart in front of the horse, so we want to make sure that infrastructure is sound and everything is in place before we bring in the buses," Fitzpatrick said.

A recently purchased JTA electric bus.

Jacksonville’s city-owned utility and its transportation agency are in talks that could lead to the electrification of the city’s entire bus fleet.

In South Florida, top considerations for choosing a new home have shifted, thanks to climate change.

“Before it was location, location, location. Now, it’s about elevation, elevation, elevation. The new buyer has to worry about both,” said George Jalil, broker and president at Miami Way Realty.

Sea level rise doesn’t top the list of buyer or seller concerns in South Florida — especially if you’re rich enough to afford the ever-skyrocketing costs of waterfront property — but for budget-conscious buyers, choosing the wrong home could have expensive consequences.

An appeals court Tuesday rejected a lawsuit in which eight young Florida residents sought to force the state to take steps to address climate change.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal upheld a decision last June by Leon County Circuit Judge Kevin Carroll to dismiss the case.

The panel did not give a detailed explanation, but cited Caroll’s conclusion that the case involved “nonjusticiable political questions.”

A $75,000 study to look at how sea level rise will affect the city of Tampa is on its way to the city council.

Planners wrapped up the study during a final presentation Wednesday night.

Their recommendations include building seawalls and raising water and sewer lines in floodplains. In other areas, creating natural buffer zones would work better than pouring more concrete. And development densities should be reduced in low-lying areas, while being raised on higher ground.

Congresswoman Kathy Castor and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman implored Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto a bill that would override local regulation of energy sources.

The bill could short out efforts by Florida cities and counties to move to clean energy sources.

Castor, D-Tampa, who chairs the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, said the preemption was fueled by big energy companies.

Downtown Jacksonville
Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

Warming appears to be the new normal in Jacksonville and across much of the U.S., according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data that was updated this week.

Marshes on Amelia Island.
Razvan Orendovici / Wikimedia Commons

A group of military and government officials has agreed to move forward with a plan to conserve 1 million acres of salt marsh stretching from North Carolina to Northeast Florida.

Vampire bats could soon make their way into the United States from Mexico due to climate change and development, scientists say.

The possibility of a migration is concerning federal agriculture officials because the bats like to feast on the blood of large farm animals, while sometimes spreading rabies.

Florida is number three on the list of places where the bats could be headed in coming years.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried
News Service of Florida

Florida’s lone statewide elected Democrat is urging Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto a handful of bills sent to him by the state Legislature.

UNF students build crab pots to restore oyster reefs.

Students in the University of North Florida’s Coastal and Marine Biology Program are working on a living shoreline restoration project with the St. Mary’s Riverkeeper to help rebuild oyster reefs on the Amelia River’s shoreline, near Old Town Fernandina.

JEA workers connect a home to a sewer line in 2014.
Peter Haden / WJCT News

Jacksonville could get $6 million from the state to help pay for septic tank phase outs if the Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis sign off on this year’s state budget, as it’s proposed.

Picture of Jacksonville City Hall
Brendan Rivers / WJCT News

The Jacksonville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to formally accept the final report from the Special Committee on Resiliency, which lays out dozens of policy recommendations that would help the River City deal with the causes and effects of climate change

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks Tuesday, March 2, 2021, during his State of the State address at the Capitol in Tallahassee.
Phil Sears / Associated Press

The Sierra Club of Florida has sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis urging him to veto twelve bills, including some that would make it harder for local governments to reduce fossil fuel emissions, the leading driver of climate change.

3 Youth Living And Organizing On The Frontlines Of The Climate Crisis

Apr 23, 2021
Helena Gualinga (left), Amber Brown (center) and Amber Tamm (right)
Teen Vogue

The year 2020 illustrated to the world that the overlapping issues of climate and racial justice can no longer be ignored. A pandemic that disproportionately killed people of color and record-breaking wildfires that displaced thousands unfolded amidst international protests for racial justice spurred by George Floyd’s killing and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. We are living through the climate emergency every single day.

Climate Change In Fla. Is Forcing A Response From Republican Politicians

Apr 23, 2021
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks Tuesday, March 2, 2021, during his State of the State address at the Capitol in Tallahassee.
Phil Sears / Associated Press

Florida has long been known as an environmental contradiction. It’s mostly a peninsula at risk from the severe impacts of climate change, including rising seas, warming temperatures, and worsening extreme-weather events; yet it’s also a state governed by Republican leaders who have refused to even publicly utter the words “climate change.”

The U.S. Reptile Most At Risk From Rising Seas? The Florida Reef Gecko

Apr 21, 2021
Clements and principal investigator Christopher Searcy were surprised to spot this Florida reef gecko at Deering Estate in Miami, Florida, between hardwood hammock and pine rockland habitat on Dec. 8, 2019.
Stephanie Clements

  • The Florida reef gecko is the most vulnerable reptile to sea level rise in the U.S, according to biologists at the University of Miami.

Jacksonville Beach flooding is pictured on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016 after Hurricane Matthew passed through.
Charlie Riedel / Associated Press

In a letter this month, the local climate advocacy organization Resilient Jax praised Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for supporting the funding of projects to address sea level rise and urged him to start addressing the fossil fuel emissions that are driving climate change.

Therapists Are Reckoning With Eco-Anxiety

Apr 20, 2021
Associated Press file photo

Andrew Bryant, a therapist based in Tacoma, Washington, felt helpless the first time climate change came up in his office. It was 2016, and a client was agonizing over whether to have a baby. His partner wanted one, but the young man couldn’t stop envisioning this hypothetical child growing up in an apocalyptic, climate-changed world.

Five Culinary Winners And Losers Of Climate Change

Apr 19, 2021
Wine and fruits
Helena Yankovska / Unsplash

From wines in Canada to mushrooms in the Czech Republic, some foods will fare better than others on a hot planet.