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Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert pro-science comment: ‘We continue to take seriously the climate change — not the cause of it, but the things that we observe’

Q    Mr. Bossert, the previous administration saw a connection between climate change and homeland security in that the frequency and intensity of powerful storms, like Harvey and Irma, could pose a problem for future administrations.  You could have a FEMA budget that can’t keep up with the demand when you have powerful storms hitting the country.  Is that something that you think this administration should take a look at?  We know the President pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord.  Are these storms giving this administration some pause when it comes to the issue of climate change and homeland security?

September 11, 2017


MR. BOSSERT:  I was here in the 2004 cycle of hurricanes, four and six weeks that hit Florida.  I think what’s prudent for us right now is to make sure that those response capabilities are there.  Causality is something outside of my ability to analyze right now.

I will tell you that we continue to take seriously the climate change — not the cause of it, but the things that we observe.  And so there’s rising flood waters — I think one inch every 10 years in Tampa — things that would require prudent mitigation measures.  And what I said from the podium the other day, and what President Trump remains committed to, is making sure that federal dollars aren’t used to rebuild things that will be in harm’s way later or that won’t be hardened against the future predicable floods that we see.

And that has to do with engineering analysis and changing conditions along eroding shorelines, but also in inland water and flood control projects.

Q    And just to follow up on that, when you see three Category 4 hurricanes all on the same map at the same time, does the thought occur to you, “Geez, you know, maybe there is something to this climate change thing and its connection to powerful hurricanes”?  Or do you just separate the two and say, “Boy, these are a lot of big hurricanes coming our way”?

MR. BOSSERT:  Well I don’t know if I say either, but I do know that there is a cyclical nature of a lot of these hurricane seasons.  And I thank the scientists for their forecasts on this particular one.  They were dead on that this would be a stronger and more powerful hurricane season, with slightly more-than-average large storms making landfall in the United States.  So we’ll have to do a larger trend analysis at a later date.