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Nancy Smith

Florida's New Climate Change Czar: Better than a Scientist

July 31, 2019 - 8:15am
Julia Nesheiwat
Julia Nesheiwat

Florida is about to get a climate change czar -- a key staffer charged with "adapting the most vulnerable state in the nation to climate change." 

Apparently, say The Miami Herald and other newspapers that collaborated on the story, Gov. Ron DeSantis is set to announce the appointment of new Chief Resilience Officer Julia Nesheiwat. Maybe as early as today.

But, expect to see more than a few Florida chins drop over this announcement -- on two counts.

First, are we really talking about recognizing climate change with an actual senior staff position? Under a REPUBLICAN governor? Democrats said we GOPs were incapable of thinking past our collective double-digit IQ. After all, it wasn't so long ago that Gov. Rick Scott forbade the words "climate change" in the Governor's Office.

The second shocker: Julia Nesheiwat, DeSantis' czar of choice, has a ton of creds, but a scientist she is not. Not even close. The Herald, the Sun-Sentinel and a slew of news sources in the multi-newsroom initiative called the Florida Climate Reporting Network,  seem to question what possible good Nesheiwat can do for Florida's disappearing coastline. Nesheiwat "has an impressive resume," writes the Herald's Alex Harris. "But it’s missing one thing -- any obvious experience with climate change or resilience."

Actually, I think whatever Hesheiwat's resume is missing, it doesn't need. 

OK, this sounds strange coming from me. Usually, I'm the cynical one when a shoe isn't a perfect fit. But I have a hunch DeSantis and Florida got lucky and Nesheiwat is the seam in the gold mine. She's a proven negotiator, a talented convincer, a person who knows how to drive home a compelling argument. Google her background. She's been a winner in every task she's undertaken for more than 20 years.

Let's look:

She was an ROTC standout at Stetson University, graduating in 1997 with B.A. degrees in religious studies and sociology, and later an M.A. from Georgetown and a Ph.D. from Tokyo Institute of Technology. 

Ultimately, she served as a military intelligence officer during consecutive tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, and later as special presidential envoy for hostage affairs (acting), where she helped secure the safe return of Americans held hostage overseas. 

She was also a visiting professor at the U.S. Naval Post Graduate School’s National Security Affairs Department and at the University of California San Diego, "lecturing on the geopolitics of energy and renewable energy technology in the 21st century." 

Nesheiwat was appointed deputy assistant secretary of state for implementation in the Bureau of Energy Resources. Beginning in 2008-2011, she was the senior advisor and chief of staff to the special envoy for Eurasian Energy. Immediately prior, she served as the energy policy advisor in the Department’s Economic bureau, where she focused on energy security issues for Europe and Central Asia.  

In 2010 to 2011, including the period following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, she served as a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) fellow in Japan, where she conducted energy and economic policy research evaluating U.S. and Asian energy policies.

In April last year, as a former deputy assistant secretary of state for energy, she was invited to lead the discussion on geothermal development at the Iceland Geothermal Conference.

Not too shabby, Florida.

Maybe we'll need a scientist in this job later. But right now, climate change is a moving target and a lot of Floridians still need convincing. By all accounts, Nesheiwat has been a diplomat and far more: She can do that. With 1,100 miles of coastline, Florida is going to need money and help from Washington. She has the connections. She's been an achiever in Democratic AND Republican administrations. 

Nesheiwat can go anywhere in the world and represent us if we need her to, I'm convinced of that. This is not a person who will freeze like a deer in the headlights.

I can't wait to give her a chance.

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith


Climate quacks are hypocritical about “science” vs. politics. The UN’s own climate group includes many non-scientists from socialist NGOs all hoping to extort green taxes for their special causes. 2nd, there’s NO ACCELERATION trends in sea level rates since weather stations began taking data 100-150 years ago, anywhere! It’s normal for rising and falling between ice ages, graphs in straight line trends continue the same as before CO2 and fossil fuels usage increased. Actual thermometer readings show cooling — and not warming — trends during same weather stations in use. Fla. should focus on real environmental impacts of development and water management policies, including clearcutting of forests that used to absorb nitrates but now excess runoff flows instead. Flows via manmade canals, islands and channels managed by big gumment, not big oil and not dirty coal.

Sigh . . . . . . try selling your uninformed science to Miami residents and Key West Conchs already experiencing the impacts of increasing sea levels . . . . . virtually ALL climate scientists have extensive science that disagrees with your truthiness . . . . . . . . . . no reputable organization of scientists agrees with your "factoids" . . . . . . . . to continue to deny climate change is happening and primarily man-made is just . . . . . . . . . . PATHETIC . . . .

I hope this person is someone besides a spin doctor, because that is not going to be beneficial. We need someone who is "sold out" on the urgency of this situation and able to penetrate the knuckleheads, like the ones arrogant enough to express their opinions here.

Yes, we'll see . . . . . . the job posting asked for at least a M.S. in environmental sciences and indicated that "a minimum of 5 years working experience in the resilience and sustainability related field preferred" . . . . . . . both of which she lacks . . . . . . her background's mainly in energy "security" issues and military intelligence . . . . . seems a little lacking in needed background (e.g. does she even understand the basic tenets of resiliency and sustainability?), but, we'll see . . . . . . . hopefully, she'll pick it up quickly, succeed, and not become a political, partisan appointment . . . . . . . . she appears to be an achiever, and so far she talks the talk (I was encouraged by her 2017 Stetson convocation speech), even if she lacks some of the helpful credentials . . . . I'm cautiously optimistic . . . . ask me in a year and I'll let you know what I've heard about her efforts from my friends working in the field with her . . . . .

Good News, I wish her well: her BIGGEST TASK will be to rebuff the "fantasy science" of the barely literate likes of AL Gore and his "toady faux-science followers" (like a few "PATHETIC...." examples who post in this site), all of whom use the "topic subject" to "wiggle their way" into media coverage, of ANY venue that has ANY possibility of "lighting up their names" for even a few brief moments...( ...and for all you "kids" out there: READ A BOOK ! You don't need to be a "scientist" to understand "weather", and its causal "affects & effects" upon our Earth).

Didn't I see that you've also signed up as a charter member of the flat-earthers, and creationist's society, along with being a climate change denier . . . . . . that all goes along with your being in perpetual political denial and demonization of anyone female, hispanic, black, non-christian, or who has an actual brain that thinks for themselves and doesn't simply regurgitate Trumpite truthiness (and I have your SSN quotes to prove all that) . . . . . . . I've frequently challenged you to provide your science so that we can all view it, hold it up to the light and evaluate its merits . . . . . but you don't have any, only typically racist demonizations of anyone not like you or who doesn't believe in truthiness like you and your leader, Trump . . . . . . . . . . . . . both, terminally . . . . . . . . PATHETIC . . .

Just KNEW I could "draw YOU out of the woodwork "PATHETIC. . . .Frankie" (Keep saving my quotes "Frankie"...they might be valuable someday; Show them to your kids, so they might turnout smarter than you; although genetics usually prevail...). "truthiness"?..REALLY Frankie?!?...Asserted, imagined, non- evidentiary truth???... Sounds just like your PATHETIC. . . .self "Frankie the sign-tist". (Save this SSN quote too "Frankie",.. it's personalized).

All my use of your quotes will do is point out the rampant racism you spout, and the hatred of anyone who's not like you . . . . . . . I'm only sad I'll never get to see your straight right salute to Trump, your leader . . . . . . . . PATHETIC . . .

We do not have a year to wait around and see if this person knows what she is doing Frank. Climate change is happening every minute. De Santis is a real disappoint to me, Mr. FAUX environmentalist.

The sun has been increasing its brightness by about 10% every billion years it spends burning hydrogen. Increased brightness means an increase in the amount of heat our planet receives. Almost all of the heat that warms the earth comes from the sun. So the only way anyone's going to cool the planet is to reflect more sunlight back into space. Forcing people to stop using energy is a mythological solution. Democrats simply do not have enough brain cells to comprehend this.

Go talk to some actual reputable climate scientists . . . . . . . the sun's variations have little to do with the recent warming over the past century and a half . . . . . . . . . to spin otherwise, is either. . . . . . . . plain uneducated ignorance or being dishonestly disingenuous . . . . . either way, simply . . . . . . . . . PATHETIC . . .

Stay out of the sunlight "Frank"! I can already see that this lady is gonna have her hands full trying to pull you off her "phone message" list.

Delusional nonsense, as usual . . . . . . . . PATHETIC

Thanks for this write-up of Julia Nesheiwat. I agree, Ms. Smith, not too shabby !! Happy to have her in Florida. Great selection Governor.

WHY do the masses assume that CLIMATE CHANGE is in the purvue of mankind to solve? PROVEN science shows that climate change is a naturally occurring function of the planet we all live on! The problem is that it happens slowly... but perhaps we are seeing the very beginning of a major change that has been set in motion by NOT science - but pure SPECULATION. Then, the round-the-circle story grows that we can actually DO something about it. This is the truth, and I feel like I'm talking to a wall.

The sun has been increasing its brightness by about 10% every billion years it spends burning hydrogen. Increased brightness means an increase in the amount of heat our planet receives. Democrats simply do not have enough brain cells to comprehend this.

And of course, almost all of the heat that warms the earth comes from the sun. So the only way anyone's going to cool the planet is to reflect more sunlight back into space. Forcing people to stop using energy is a mythological solution.


The Republicans that run this state, like the national party, aren't going to do anything really substantive nor expeditious about the problems of climate change until there's some type of disastrous thing going on, e.g., downtown Miami's streets, storm drains, and sewer system being flooded - but, by then, it'll be too late. First and foremost, the Republican party is anti-Democratic party - and since it was Democrats who made climate change an issue in the first place - the Republicans are just going to continue to oppose it in substance until hell freezes over.

Stop smokin' that stuff, dude!

SCIENTIST??? . Seriously??? . You want The Czar to be a SCIENTIST??? . Are you aware all scientists have and will again sell their integrity for research grants provided by leftist institutions, Government agencys, and individual leftists with conditions on continued funding based on pre determined support of bogus climate change outcomes? OMG scientists have already been 100% complicit with fake news support of bogus climate change. The last person Florida needs is another lying Scientist in this position. Scientists have alredy pooped in their nest and those lying low lifes have no place making any important climate related decisions. DeSantist knows what he's doing.

Stop smokin' that stuff, dude!

It looks like DeSantis is following through on this big Florida problem. Good for him...……..I'll be in touch with her soon to show how to do it at low cost, lower cost than we spend now in fact......………...I'm still puzzled why repubs want to pay more for polluting power?...………...Not very fiscally conservative of them...……...There are few things as conservative as making your own clean power for 50% less...……...That it stops CC is a nice bonus...…...…...Not to mention RE makes 3x as many jobs and they are Florida jobs......…......Kind of a no brainer yet it seems few repubs have brains apparently anymore.........They do but they rented them out to the utilities, corporations sadly.

Another "Trollhole inhabitant" heard from...I think you are "in touch" with YOURSELF far too much "jerry". (Do you know "Frankie the PATHETIC . . .signtist"??? Get "in touch" with him, guys got a lot in common to bore each other with).... And leave that new lady EXPERT alone, for heavens sake !

Stop smokin' that stuff, dude!

A bizarre hire for an unnecessary position. Nesheiwat was a largely unknown, State Dept. employee during much of the Obama administration, as well as a fellow at the avid, anti-Trump think tank, Council of Foreign Relations.

I admire you enthusiasm to "give her a chance". An impressive background with Energy is great. Climate and Resiliency is a pretty much a different topic all together! Does she really have connection to Climate contacts in Washington? Florida coastal climate fighters have had little success getting the State interested in their plight....much less D.C.

If Nesheiwat uses her diplomatic skills at subtly and professionally debunking the climate hoax then she will be a great asset to Florida and Florida's economy.

..............debunking the climate hoax...just as I thought....De Santis the ultimate faux environmentalist.

I can tell you this. I have a favorite place at the beach (Florida east coast) that I've been going to for 40 years. The sea levels are exactly the same as I remember them 40 years ago (high tide mark and low tide mark). If they're different, then it's insignificant.


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