When will the Trump administration name the enemy so that we can fight it?
We're talking about anthropogenic climate change, of course.
Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert came very close at Monday's press briefing. The man who has become sort of the hurricane czar of the Trump administration, keeping the press updated on the federal government's response to Harvey and Irma, kind of sort of admitted that climate change is happening, and that there are steps the country can take to mitigate its effects, at least as far as future hurricanes are concerned.
Witness, for example, this exchange with CNN's Jim Acosta:
ACOSTA: 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 ... Are these storms giving this administration some pause when it comes to the issue of climate change and homeland security?
BOSSERT: [...] 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.
For crying out loud, this is what environmental activists have been saying for years.
Meanwhile, conservatives like Gov. Rick Scott of Florida (last seen spending five days wading through flood waters up to his neck from one end of his state to the other) banned government agencies from even saying the words “climate change.” Which means that engineers, community planners, and others responsible for thinking about the future of infrastructure in places like Florida are forbidden from accounting for, say, sea-level rise leading to increased flooding when they work on building projects or pitching mitigation efforts.
And then this:
ACOSTA: 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 note 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.
OK, no rush or anything!
The trend analysis has been going on for several decades. Scientists have determined that oceans are getting warmer, which leads to more powerful and larger hurricanes. It is why many of them have been warning places like the city of Miami not to build so much right on the water because storm surge from these hurricanes is just going to flood them right out.
So when Bossert says that the president “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 predictable floods that we see,” that is something that scientists have been warning for years the federal government will wind up doing if it doesn't change course on climate change, only to get dismissed by the Republican Party that Trump now leads.
Typical GOP. Only when they are suddenly faced with the costs of the damage from climate change-driven flooding are they finally going to maybe think about bringing up admitting that it's a problem.
Watch video of the entire Acosta-Bossert exchange below.
Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.