By Laura Barron-Lopez - 07/17/14 09:19 AM EDT
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has agreed to meet with 10 scientists from Florida universities who want to talk to him about climate change.
Scott, a climate change skeptic, has worked with the GOP-controlled Legislature in Florida to derail climate measures.
In his response, Scott said he remains "focused on solutions we can implement to protect our land, water, and families."
"We have made environmental restoration a top priority — investing record amounts in the Everglades and Springs projects all across Florida, even many that were not prioritized by the previous administration," he said.
When asked about a federal report earlier this year that singled out Florida, and specifically Miami, for its vulnerability to rising sea levels, Scott didn't name climate change directly but used the now common GOP refrain: "I'm not a scientist."
Scott, who is up for reelection this year, is facing his predecessor, Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist, whose climate policies he has worked to reverse.
In their letter to Scott, the scientists said they would like to brief him on the latest climate science as Florida must prepare its own plan to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants.
"We are scientists and we would like the opportunity to explain what is at stake for our state," the scientists wrote.
"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.