A roundup of news items related to climate change and other environmental issues in Florida:
Coral bleaching is a $9 trillion problem | Heatmap News
Coral reefs are a thing of wonder, both organism and underwater infrastructure that houses thousands of species of fish. They are also, as you might already know, in grave danger. Climate change is contributing to massive waves of coral bleaching around the world, from the Great Barrier Reef to the ocean off of Florida, where an extreme oceanic heat wave this year turned mile after mile of reef a ghostly white.
We’ve known about coral bleaching for years, but a new report out Wednesday draws fresh attention to corals’ plight, including reefs — along with ice sheets, rainforests, and ocean currents, among others — on a list of imminent climate “tipping points.” And if they go over the brink, the consequences could reach far beyond the ocean floor.
According to the report, about a billion people, or 13% of the world’s population, are estimated to live within 100 kilometers of a coral reef. Together, those reefs provide $9.9 trillion of economic value each year. Reefs are sources of both nutrition and income; in Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is estimated to create 68,000 jobs and 5.7 billion Australian dollars of revenue each year, mostly from tourism. This means the risk to coral is a risk to humans, as well.
How DEP plans to punish a Port St. Lucie resort for destroying a half-acre mangrove canopy | Treasure Coast Newspapers
A Port St. Lucie resort that illegally hacked about 944 mangrove trees and filled wetlands to create a beach may have to pay a $110,395 fine, replant 2,780 trees and be monitored for five years.
That would be “one of the largest proposed mangrove alteration penalties in state history,” the Florida Department of Environmental Protection told TCPalm Friday.
Sandpiper Bay Resort in May cleared nearly a half-acre of shoreline along the North Fork of the St. Lucie River — a swath equal to the 951-foot-long Caribbean Princess cruise ship — then covered the nubs with sand, some of which washed into the water, state records show.
Ron DeSantis admits human activities drive climate change | Florida Politics
Florida’s governor is again recalibrating his position on climate change, per a new interview in an Iowa newspaper.
The Des Moines Register reports that Ron DeSantis is admitting that human activity is one of a “variety of factors” driving the phenomenon — a fact reporter Katie Akin notes that he’s been reluctant to admit.
“DeSantis’ own stance has changed: During the first GOP presidential debate, he did not raise his hand when candidates were asked if human activities are warming the planet. But in the Dec. 9 interview with the Register, DeSantis said he does believe human activities are a factor in the changing climate,” Akin observed.
If you have any news items of note that you think we should include in our next roundup, please email The Invading Sea Editor Nathan Crabbe at email@example.com. Sign up for The Invading Sea newsletter by visiting here.