Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Sierra Club Says Governor DeSantis Abandoned Florida’s Economy & Workers

In response to Governor Ron DeSantis signing HB 433,  “Employment Regulations,” Sierra Club Florida Political Director Luigi Guadarrama blasted the Republican saying that DeSantis “should be ashamed” and he abandoned Florida’s economy and workers.

The political group said the bill will preempt local governments’ ability to pass protections for workers in extreme heat at a time when climate change is pushing record temperatures higher year after year. Sierra Club Florida has strongly opposed HB 433 since its inception.

“By signing HB 433 into law, Governor DeSantis has once again failed Florida’s environment, economy, and workers,” Sierra Club Florida Political Director Luigi Guadarrama said. “Instead of addressing the skyrocketing insurance crisis or protecting our workforce, the Governor chose to abandon millions of hard-working Floridians and leave our state even more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. He has consistently ignored the real issues affecting Florida’s families to appease his donors and large corporations. Ron DeSantis has known nothing but failure, and he should be ashamed.”

Of the many threats climate change poses to Florida’s economy and well-being–including rising insurance rates and storms – the impact of extreme heat is one of the biggest, according to Sierra Club Florida.

In 2022, heat exposure in the U.S. led to the loss of almost half a trillion potential labor hours, a significant increase from previous years. In 2021, a report by The Atlantic Council found that loss of productivity from heat led to a loss of about $100 billion dollars a year in the United States.

The same report concluded that “without meaningful action to reduce emissions and/or adapt to extreme heat, labor productivity losses could double to nearly $200 billion by 2030 and reach $500 billion by 2050.” These impacts will fall on the shoulders of working-class Floridians at a time when Florida is also growing disproportionately less affordable compared to the rest of the nation.

Additionally, extreme heat is already a leading weather-related cause of death and workplace injury across the country. In the United States, extreme heat was estimated to be the cause of about 120,000 workplace injuries every year, and without action, that number could rise to about 450,000 per year in 2050. From 2019 to 2022, heat related deaths rose a staggering 88% in Florida. These deaths and injuries also disproportionately impact marginalized communities.

Last month, Sierra Club Florida sent Governor Ron DeSantis a letter urging him to veto this bill. They said they will continue to advocate for stronger protections for workers and our economy against the impacts of climate, including stronger protections for workers dealing with extreme heat.

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