President Trump’s homeland security adviser Monday avoided commenting on the link between climate change and the major hurricanes that have hit the United States in recent weeks.
Speaking with reporters at the White House, Tom Bossert answered a question from CNN’s Jim Acosta by saying that it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to talk about whether climate change is related to hurricanes Harvey, Irma or Jose.
“I think what’s prudent for us right now is to make sure those response capabilities are there. Causality is something outside my ability to analyze right now,” Bossert said.
But Bossert did say that hurricane seasons are “cyclical,” which climate change skeptics have said shows that stronger seasons aren’t necessarily caused or exacerbated by human activity.
“I do note that there’s a cyclical nature to a lot of these hurricane seasons,” he said, mentioning the 2004 hurricane season, which was the costliest until the next year.
“We’ll have to do a larger trend analysis at a later date,” Bossert continued.
Scientists who study the issue say that while climate change does not cause any hurricanes, it creates conditions that can make them stronger and more intense.
Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado (R) sharply criticized Trump on Friday for his climate policies and refusal to talk about the impact of global warming on extreme weather.
“If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is. This is a truly, truly poster child for what is to come,” he told the Miami Herald as Irma was nearing Florida.
Bossert said that sea levels are rising, though he declined to link that to global warming.
Nonetheless, the Trump administration plans to write a new federal flood standard for infrastructure and other projects, to replace the one crafted by former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGlasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal Obama gives fiery speech for McAuliffe: 'Don't sit this one out' Obama looks to give new momentum to McAuliffe MORE, which Trump rescinded weeks ago.
“What President Trump remains committed to is making sure that federal dollars aren’t used to rebuild things that would be in harm’s way later or that won’t be hardened against the future predictable floods that we see. And that has to do with engineering analysis and changing conditions, not only eroding shorelines, but also inland water and flood control projects,” Bossert said.
The Trump administration has started the process of rolling back nearly all climate change policies that Obama implemented, including limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and the oil and natural gas sector.