DEP chief says “climate change” 3 times but rooster didn’t crow

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Like Peter denying the Lord three times, DEP Secretary Jon Steverson denied that his department forbids the use of those terrifying words.

“Climate change. Climate change. Climate change.”

Yes, he actually said it three times as though to put an emphatic biblical stamp on the matter, hoping to finally put the issue to rest.

He then doubled down, venturing into deeper water by uttering the phrase’s verbal cousin, “sea-level rise,” even acknowledging that it is “real.”

Sort of.

With a verbal about-face it appears Steverson may have backed off his emphatic acceptance of what nearly every climate scientist accepts as dogma when he added, “Climate change is always happening. It’s always changing.”

It’s always changing? Did you really just go there?

That’s not what we’re talking about. We are not just talking about, “Wow it’s cold outside,” “Hey it’s raining,” or “Gee, we’re having a dry summer.” That’s not the kind of change someone means when they utter the phrase, “climate change.”

When someone — even a denier — says “climate change” they mean human-induced atmospheric alteration. They mean pollution caused by pumping stuff into the air at such a rate that the earth’s temperature is going up. They mean ice caps are melting, oceans are warming, sea levels are rising and bad sh-t is happening.  Yes, and one of those effects (and seriously, thank you Mr. Secretary, for at least being consistent on this point) is that our high tides are higher, our beaches are eroding faster than ever, and we have very real infrastructure problems because of the undeniable fact that sea levels are indeed rising.

Steverson can’t have it both ways. He can’t at once say “sea-level rise is real” and then back off of that with the euphemistic, “climate change is always happening.”

For Peter’s sake, the Secretary needs to pick one side and stick to it.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.