Taking climate change ‘seriously,’ but ‘not the cause of it’

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, September 12, 2017

With the U.S. reeling from two major hurricanes in as many weeks, the White House said today it’s taking climate change “seriously,” even if it is not considering its cause.

Asked by reporters whether Hurricanes Harvey and Irma had given the White House pause about its positions on global warming, Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert answered that “causality” of climate change was beyond his area of expertise.

“I will tell you that we continue to take seriously the climate change, not the cause of it, but the things that we observe,” Bossert said.

He then cited statistics on rising sea levels in Tampa, Fla., which was struck late last night by a weakening Irma. He said rising seas would require mitigation efforts.

“I think what’s prudent for us right now is to make sure those response capabilities are there,” he said.

President Trump and his administration are dedicated to making sure that federal dollars aren’t used to rebuild things that will get in harm’s way later, he said.

When pressed again about the hurricane and climate link, Bossert said hurricanes are cyclical.

“We’ll have to do a larger trend analysis at a later date,” he said.

Trump has come under fire for multiple environmental and climate rule rollbacks, including announced withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate agreement and earlier comments that climate change is a “hoax.” He also canceled an Obama-era flood standard that would have required additional protections for roads and infrastructure (Climatewire, Sept. 8).

More than 97 percent of actively publishing climate scientists say humans are driving warming temperatures, according to NASA. Since the hurricane, some local officials have been challenging Trump to acknowledge scientific data tying warmer temperatures to stronger storms.

“If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is. This is a truly, truly poster child for what is to come,” Miami Mayor Tom├ís Regalado told the Miami Herald.