Why Florida Needs The Inflation Reduction Act Now

Critical climate and clean energy investments will create millions of good-paying jobs, lower energy costs for families, invest in disadvantaged communities, and reduce climate pollution. Not only are Floridians demanding climate action now, with 76% of registered voters supporting Congressional action on climate change, but they are also experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change. Florida stands to lose more homes and real estate value to sea-level rise damage than any other state in the country, demonstrating precisely why Congress must act now to pass the Inflation Reduction Act to secure Florida’s future. Here’s why Florida needs the climate investments in the Inflation Reduction Act now: 

Voters in Florida want solutions to the climate crisis.

Investing in clean energy means thousands of new jobs for Florida.

  • In 2021, Florida was home to 158,467 clean energy jobs including 24,798 jobs in generating renewable electricity, 5,323 jobs in energy storage, 114,079 jobs in energy efficiency, and11,472 jobs in clean vehicles. 
    • The Department of Energy’s 2022 Energy and Employment Report found that 17,739 Florida workers were employed in solar and wind electric generation in 2021. 
  • One report published in 2020 found that even modest federal clean energy stimulus investments could generate 41,798 jobs in Florida per year over a five year period. The hypothetical investments in that report were even smaller than those in the Inflation Reduction Act.

Floridians are already feeling the impacts of climate change.

  • Florida was ranked the hottest state in the country in 2021, with the Sunshine State experiencing an average of 25 extreme heat days annually. That number is projected to jump to 130 days by 2050 – more than any other state.
  • Florida is struck by 40% of all U.S. hurricanes, and Floridians are likely to see increased storm generation because of climate change. From 2017-2021, Florida experienced 10 hurricanes and tropical storms, totaling $187.8 billion in damages and 293 deaths.
    • Last year, Florida was impacted by four billion-dollar climate disasters, all hurricanes and tropical storms, that caused a total of $82.5 billion in damages and 104 deaths. Damages from Hurricane Ida alone were $78.7 billion.
  • Both red tide and blue-green algae have become more and more problematic in southern Florida in recent years. Both are caused by a combination of water pollution runoff and high water temperatures driven by climate change.

If we do nothing, it will get worse for communities across the state and cost billions of dollars.

  • Climate change will cost Florida $100.9 billion annually by the year 2100. Florida stands to lose the most out of all states due to sea rise and flooding from climate change. The homes of 100,000 Floridians will face chronic flooding by 2045, half of which are in South Florida.
  • By 2040, Florida could face a total of $76 billion in climate change costs from mitigation projects such as building sea walls to protect against flooding from rising sea levels.
  • Florida saw an estimated 250,000 climate migrants after Hurricane Maria and could see more people fleeing extreme weather events in the future.

Climate change and fossil fuel pollution have a disproportionate impact on people of color in Florida.

  • Communities of color and low-income areas in Florida are disproportionately exposed to extreme climate threats and are more often located in or near flood-prone areas, heat islands, or toxic waste sites. For example, Latinos make up 40% of the population in eight Florida cities that will flood during future high tides.
  • Of the 10 counties in Florida that have 10 or more Brownfields, almost all are disproportionately located near low-income residents and people of color. 
    • Brownfield sites are formerly-developed land that has been contaminated by hazardous pollutants. There are an estimated 450,000 brownfields in the U.S. in need of clean up and reinvestment. 
  • Hillsborough County, the only Florida county to earn a failing grade for ozone pollution on the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2022 report, is 22.3% Hispanic and 15.9% Black or African American.
  • Tree cover, which can reduce the effects of urban heat islands, protects as little as 10% of the area in the mostly African-American and Latino neighborhoods in Florida, compared to around 40% in coastal, upscale areas.