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Weeks before election, scientists ask, 'What about climate change?'

Republican Party of Florida to forward letter to Trump campaign

With two months left on the calendar, 2014 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record, according to new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Through October, the average global temperature has been 1.22 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the 20th century global average of 57.4 F. October was the hottest October on record globally.
With two months left on the calendar, 2014 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record, according to new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Through October, the average global temperature has been 1.22 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the 20th century global average of 57.4 F. October was the hottest October on record globally. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As the country prepares to elect a new president in the coming weeks, scientists in Florida are asking a major question: Why isn’t climate change part of the national conversation?

Two years ago, the same group of scientists challenged Gov. Rick Scott and his opponent, Charlie Crist, to address the environment and climate change.

Now, Dr. Jeff Chanton has penned a letter to GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump asking the businessman to discuss the issue -- and Trump’s past claims that climate change is a hoax.

“In our opinion, at least in my opinion, this issue is just as important for the long term as ISIS,” the letter reads in part.

GOP strategists said it’s not a bigger part of the national conversation because everyday people don’t talk about it.

Voters aren’t affected by climate change on a daily basis, said Chris Moya, lobbyist and government affairs director for Jones Walker.

“When you ask scientists what should be done, the results of what should be done are incremental, long term, and difficult to calculate the impact on the climate,” Moya said. “But the results for the average American family in the business economy right now are present, impactful and large-scale.”

Bringing up climate change two years ago was successful because it brought the issue to the forefront, said Chanton, an oceanography professor at Florida State University.
  
“It has not been mentioned in the debates one bit,” Chanton said. “I’d like to call out Anderson Cooper and Chris Wallace and Ken Bone for not bringing this up! Why is this not talked about? It’s such a big issue.”

Chanson hopes the topic will surface in the closing laps of the race for the White House. Chanton, a registered Republican, delivered his letter, signed by 25 other scientists, to the Republican Party of Florida on Wednesday. The party said it would forward it to the Trump campaign.