GOP Debate in Miami Highlights Florida’s Outsized Climate Impacts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Not one GOP candidate on stage on Wednesday has a coherent plan to address climate change – if they even admit it’s real. Even as they gather in Miami, Florida faces some of the most dire consequences of climate change – from extreme heat and drought to wildfires, hurricanes, and sea level rise. Floridians are grappling with threats to their health, safety, and economic security while navigating a home insurance crisis that was exacerbated by Governor (and GOP presidential hopeful) Ron DeSantis. 

Floridians are seeing major economic losses.

  • Floridians are grappling with a severe insurance crisis exacerbated by policy decisions from the DeSantis administration.
    • Gov. Ron DeSantis and his associated political committee have received nearly $4 million from insurance industry stakeholders.
  • Homeowner insurance rates in Florida are nearly triple the national average.
  • From 2012-2022, Florida has seen 30 billion-dollar weather and climate disasters that have cost over $360 billion and killed 630 people.

Extreme heat is already harming Floridians. 

  • Florida’s average temperature rose more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the past decade alone.
  • In 2023,  Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Daytona Beach, and Tallahassee all experienced their hottest August on record.
  • Miami-Dade County has seen an increase of days above 90 degrees Fahrenheit per year from 84 in 1970 to 133 days today. 
  • In Summer 2023, the heat index in Miami was higher than 100 degrees for 46 straight days.
  • In Summer 2023, Miami-Dade County broke 35 daily high temperature records.

Extreme heat in the state is also increasing the likelihood and severity of hurricanes. Major insurance companies have pulled out of Florida, leaving families to weather storms alone and without financial support. 

  • Florida is struck by 40% of all U.S. hurricanes, and Floridians are likely to see increased storm generation because of climate change.
  • The top 20 cities in danger of encountering a major hurricane in the next decades are all in Florida.
  • Florida is the U.S. state most exposed to hurricane risk, accounting for about $7 out of every $10 in damage.
  • From 2019-2022, Florida experienced 10 hurricanes or tropical storms – billion-dollar events that totaled $217.2 billion in damages and resulted in 304 deaths.

As Governor, Ron DeSantis rejected hundreds of millions in federal funding that would have reduced the impact of climate change and helped Floridians.  

  • In July 2023, DeSantis rejected $377 million in energy-efficiency rebates and electrification from the Inflation Reduction Act. 
    • Nearly $174 million was set aside for rebates for energy-efficiency improvements.
    • $173 million was set for a rebate program for the purchase of energy-efficient home appliances. 
    • Another $7 million was poised for a training program for electrification contractors.
  • DeSantis also rejected a $24 million federal grant from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that would have been used to upgrade rural wastewater systems.