(CNSNews.com) - White House Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert said Monday that it was beyond the scope of his abilities to determine what caused Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which made landfall in the United States in the past two weeks, and Hurricane Jose following behind in the Caribbean.
CNN’s Jim Acosta asked Bossert to weigh in on whether the Trump administration should look at the link between climate change and the two most recent storms to hit the United States.
“The previous administration saw a connection between climate change and homeland security and that the frequency and intensity of powerful storms like Harvey and Irma could pose a problem for future administrations. You could have FEMA budgets that can’t keep up with the demand when you have powerful storms hitting the country,” Acosta said.
“Is that something that you think this administration should take a look at? We know that 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?” he asked.
“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,” Bossert responded.
“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 those rising flood waters, I think one inch every 10 years in Tampa, things that would require prudent mitigation measures,” he said.
“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 predictable floods that we see, and that has to do with engineering analysis and changing conditions along eroding shorelines, but also in inland water, flood control projects,” Bossert added.
Acosta pressed Bossert again on the issue, asking, “Just to follow up on that, when you see 3 Category 4 hurricanes all on the same map at the same time, does the thought occur to you, Geesh, 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.”
Bossert said he wouldn’t say he had either response, but he noted how accurate the meteorologists forecasts have been about how this will be a “stronger and more powerful hurricane season.”
“I don’t know if I’d say either, but I do note that there’s a cyclical nature to a lot of these hurricane seasons, and I think the scientists with the forecast 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,” Bossert said.