President Trump’s Homeland Security adviser, Tom Bossert, declined on Monday to say whether climate change is fueling powerful hurricanes like Harvey and Irma but suggested the federal government will eventually look into a possible connection.
“Causality’s something outside of my ability to analyze right now,” Bossert told reporters at the daily White House briefing. “We’ll have to do a larger trend analysis at a later date.”
Asked whether he would say that climate change is to blame for storms like Harvey and Irma, Bossert replied: “I don’t know if I say either.”
“But I do note that there’s a cyclical nature of a lot of these hurricane seasons,” the official told reporters.
Bossert also told reporters “I will tell you that we continue to take seriously the climate change; not the cause of it, but the things that we observe,” like sea-level rise.
Scientists have said that warming temperatures in the ocean and atmosphere could increase the power of tropical storms such as Harvey and Irma.
President Trump has called climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, and set in motion the process of withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate agreement. His administration has reportedly undertaken a systematic purge of references to the issue from government websites and official documents.
Bossert’s comments came hours after Pope Francis warned that humanity will “go down” if it does not tackle climate change and that future generations will harshly judge politicians who refuse to do so.
“You can see the effects of climate change and scientists have clearly said what path we have to follow,” Francis told reporters aboard the papal plane.
“All of us have a responsibility, all of us, small or large, a moral responsibility. We have to take it seriously. We can’t joke about it,” he said. “Each person has their own. Even politicians have their own.”
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