MIAMI - Ten scientists from Florida universities have requested a meeting with Gov. Rick Scott to talk about climate change, a subject he has been reluctant to address.
Scott said, "I'm not a scientist," after a federal report earlier this year highlighted Florida, and Miami in particular, among the parts of the country most vulnerable to the effects of global warming and rising sea levels.
The letter delivered Tuesday to Scott's office in Tallahassee is signed by experts in marine systems, atmospheric sciences and other climate change-related fields at the University of Miami, Florida State University, Eckerd College and Florida International University.
They wrote: "We are scientists and we would like the opportunity to explain what is at stake for our state."
A spokesman for Scott's office was not immediately available for comment Wednesday morning. The letter's delivery was first reported by the Miami Herald.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given Florida a target of cutting its carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 38 percent by the year 2030, as part of the Obama administration's effort to reduce emissions nationwide by nearly a third over the next 15 years.
Florida will choose how to meet that goal, and the scientists wrote that they hoped to provide Scott with the latest climate science as the state prepares those plans.
"Those of us signing this letter have spent hundreds of years combined studying this problem, not from any partisan political perspective, but as scientists - seekers of evidence and explanations," the letter states. "As a result, we feel uniquely qualified to assist you in understanding what's already happening in the climate system so you may make the most effective decisions about what must be done to protect the state, including reducing emissions from fossil fuel burning power plants."
Scott, who is running for re-election, has worked with the Republican-controlled Legislature to dismantle climate change initiatives put into place by his predecessor and current opponent, Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist.
Florida's other top Republican politicians, including possible 2016 presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush, also have challenged climate science.
The letter comes as the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy lead a statewide "What's your plan, Gov?" campaign seeking energy alternatives and transparency as state agencies work to meet the federal carbon pollution standards.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.