This week, President Biden visited southwest Florida to view the impact of Hurricane Ian, joined by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Recently, Mr DeSantis seemed to dodge a follow-up question about the president’s mention of climate change.
During his remarks in Fort Myers, Florida, Mr Biden noted that in addition to the damage from Hurricane Ian, he’d seen a lot of disasters recently, including wildfires in the western US and the ongoing drought’s impact on the Colorado River.
“I think the one thing this has finally ended is a discussion about whether or not there’s climate change and we should do something about it,” President Biden said.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was asked on Newsmax about his thoughts on Biden’s bringing up the climate crisis.
“Well, a lot of people had a reaction to it,” Mr DeSantis said.
“I mean you know, for me, my view is that if you look at Florida’s history, from 1919 to 1960 we had 10 Category 4-plus storms hit the state, we have had five since then,” he added.
“This is just something we’ve got to deal with, regardless of those political debates.”
Hurricanes may not be getting more frequent, but climate scientists have concluded that they are very likely getting a lot stronger on average as the planet heats up.
A warmer planet means warmer ocean water temperatures – one of the key ingredients to powering up a hurricane with stronger winds and more rain. Early last week, Hurricane Ian intensified rapidly to a near-Category 5 storm as it encountered warm waters over the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
A United Nations climate science panel has found that the percentage of tropical cyclones reaching Category 3 or higher has increased over the past 40 years.
Hurricane Ian made landfall last Wednesday just north of Fort Myers, Florida with wind speeds up to 150 miles per hour (241 kilometres per hour). As the hurricane raged across Florida, some coastal areas experienced at least 12 feet (3.7 metres) of storm surge, while intense rainfall flooded low-lying areas across the state.
In total, at least 125 people died as a result of the storm in Florida and North Carolina, where the storm eventually dissipated.
A rapid analysis last week found that the climate crisis likely increased Ian’s rainfall by about 10 per cent.