These critical disaster safety efforts will be at risk if Trump eliminates the Climate Action Plan

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In 2012, Hurricane Sandy brought 14-feet storm surges to the unprotected New Jersey shore and billions in damages.

State of New Jersey

As you’ve probably heard by now, President Trump has replaced the Obama administration’s Climate and Energy web page with a new one that reiterates our 45th president’s promise to tear down the Climate Action Plan and expand our reliance on fossil fuels.

What you may not know is that this 180-degree policy shift will also undermine efforts to prepare for climate change disasters that are already upon us – at a great cost to public safety and our nation’s economy.

By rescinding Obama’s plan for turning the corner on climate change – in which a main pillar was to prepare the United States for its impacts – President Trump would make it harder for:

  • businesses to manage extreme weather-related disruptions to their supply chains
  • infrastructure developers to account for changes in extreme weather and coastal flooding from sea level rise, and to be able to withstand climate surprises
  • farmers to become adept at managing continually changing precipitation patterns
  • states to manage their water resource operations more effectively
  • state and local emergency preparedness personnel to effectively manage safety risks 

In 2016 alone, the hottest year on record, we experienced no fewer than 15 weather and climate change-related disasters – at a total cost of $46 billion in damages.

Storms and other such climate disasters with costs exceeding $1 billion have increased in the U.S. over the last 37 years.  These are hard dollar facts nobody can deny.

Economically responsible leaders today continue to build resilience in the face of a changing climate. Critical elements of our society – including businesses, infrastructure, agriculture, and essential water resources – depend on such action.

Keeping citizens safe 

I watched President Trump express his condolences to the families who lost loved ones to the severe weather in the South in late January. But we can do more than just express empathy when American communities are torn apart by disasters.

We can also mitigate such disasters by improving our resilience to climate change and by advocating for climate-smart policies.

One of the most important ways to increase our preparedness for extreme climate events is to continually improve and refine our understanding of how climate variability and change is linked to extreme weather.

Obama’s Climate Action Plan aimed to do just that by helping federal climate science research break new ground and continue to advance our understanding of impacts from both short-term climate anomalies – such as how El Niño and La Niña affect severe weather – and from impacts related to warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

Throwing out the this plan is not how we protect the safety of our citizens, which, after all, should be the primary goal of any administration and the first way to keep America great.

Scott Weaver

Scott Weaver

Scott is a Senior Climate Scientist in our Washington office.

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Comments

Is the NJ photo from Hurricane Sandy damage?

As a scientist/engineer who has studied climatology before it was known as climatology, I am happy to get a forum to the discuss REAL science in this field. Thankfully for humans, anthropogenic climate change (formally pushed as anthropogenic global warming - but changed to include any change in climate) is NOT supported by REAL science. I am so excited to explain how climate, like weather is non-linear and not influenced by human activity such as showing that the oceans are not absorbing CO2 but releasing it from underwater sources like volcanos. So many computer models loaded with skewed assumptions have still proved to be flat wrong -- such as an ice free arctic year 'round by 2007. Look, we all want a clean environment, but devising solutions to non-existent problems (especially with no plan for what constitutes success) can and will actually cause more problems to our environment. So please engage me with science in this subject, its not politics, but about science --- and please don't resort to name calling. Thank you.

EDF is a science-driven organization and as you can see from our blog posts, we rely heavily on our top-notch scientists to explain, in a balanced and accurate way, what’s happening with our environment. Unfortunately, real science today shows that climate change is already upon us.

While scientists will always approach individual weather events with caution, what’s happening with sea ice is a fact. So is the steady rise in global temperatures. Indeed, the global community no longer has time to debate what 97 percent of the scientific community has concluded: Climate change is happening.

Scientific facts do matter, as my colleague Keith Gaby recently wrote!

In any government, of any country, a changing climate should be a priority because today's and coming generations depend on it. Although currently it only seems that money matters. I'm totally in disagreement with these policies.