WASHINGTON — The Trump administration would need to conduct a “trend analysis” to determine a potential connection between this year’s spate of hurricanes and climate change, a top White House adviser said on Monday.
Tom Bossert, the homeland security adviser to President Donald Trump, told reporters that it was too early to say whether this year’s storms were related to global warming, adding that further study is required.
“Causality is something outside of my ability to analyze right now,” Bossert said in response to a question from CNN’s Jim Acosta.
He said that hurricane seasons were “cyclical,” and noted that scientists had accurately predicted this year would bring larger average storms.
“We’ll have to do a trend analysis at a later date,” Bossert said.
The questions come as the Trump administration continues its effort to dismantle environmental regulations and remove references to climate change from websites, and after it dismantled a climate change panel and withdrew from the Paris climate change agreement.
In an exclusive interview before Hurricane Irma hit Florida, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said it’s not the time to talk about climate change.
“To have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm; versus helping people, or actually facing the effect of the storm, is misplaced,” Pruitt told CNN, adding that it’s “insensitive” to the people of Florida to focus on climate change at the moment.
Monday, Bossert said the Trump administration is mindful of predictions of future floods and doesn’t want federal dollars used to rebuild structures that will come under increasing threat from rising sea levels.
“And what I said from the podium the other day, and what President (Donald) 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,” Bossert said “And that has to do with engineering analysis and changing conditions along eroding shorelines, but also in inland water and flood control projects.”
He later added, “We continue to take seriously climate change — not the cause of it, but the things that we observe.”
Last month, however, Trump moved to replace a regulation that required infrastructure projects be designed to withstand rising sea levels and other consequences of global warming, NPR reported.