Jim Acosta and Friends Lobby WH to Believe ‘This Climate Change Thing’ Caused Harvey, Irma

CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta thought it was time during Monday’s White House press briefing to make a fool of himself, partnering with his fellow journalists in lobbying the Trump administration to both believe that global warming caused Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and rejoin the Paris climate deal to stop them.

Riding high off winning the 2017 Presidential award over the weekend from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Acosta told Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert that the Obama 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.”

He painted a doomsday scenario in which FEMA won’t have money to respond to natural disasters but then used his rant to complain that the administration left the Paris climate deal:

You could have a FEMA budgets that can't keep up with the demand when you have powerful storms hitting the country. Is that something that you think this administration should take a look at? We know 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? 

Yes, Jim, we know you miss Barack Obama, but he’s not President anymore. And, sorry, but NBC’s Ron Allen already suggested that a piece of paper (the Paris deal) could stop hurricanes like 2016's Hurricane Matthew. 

Bossert pointed out that four hurricanes hit Florida over six weeks in Florida in 2004, so he emphasized that “what’s prudent to us right now is to make sure that those response capabilities are there” while “[c]ausality is something outside my ability to analyze right now.”

“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 floodwaters. I think one inch every ten years in Tampa and things that would require prudent mitigation measures,” he added.

Acosta tried and failed again in his quest to have the Trump administration blame Irma on “this climate change thing”:

Yeah 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 that, 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 hurricanes coming our way?

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Later, the CNN showboater had help when Associated Press White House correspondent Jonathan Lemire wondered to Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders:

In just a matter of weeks, two major storms that have been categorized as once in 500 years or even longer, major events have hit the United States. In light of that, has the President given any thought to reviewing his decision to leave the Paris climate accords?

Huckabee Sanders responded that the administration is always concerned about the environment, but above all, “the administration is focused on the recovery and relief efforts and as Tom said a few minutes ago, we'll look at that analysis the coming days and focus on the recovery and relief and saving life effort taking place.”

NBC’s Hallie Jackson followed up too:

JACKSON: Two questions. To follow up on John's question a little bit here, since you said you did speak to the administration, can you clarify whether the President believes human activity contributes to climate change?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: The President has addressed this already. 

JACKSON: Has that changed given the storms? 

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I don't think that it's changed over the last several weeks and, again, he's addressed his opinion on that several times.

Whether you’re Acosta or Ali Velshi, the media can try and try to suggest climate change has caused major hurricanes and the subsequent devastation, but the centuries of infamous hurricanes and growing populations taking direct hits aren’t on their side.

Here’s the relevant transcript from September 11's White House press briefing:

White House Press Briefing
September 11, 2017
2:56 p.m. Eastern

JIM ACOSTA: Tom, 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 a FEMA budgets that can't keep up with the demand when you have powerful storms hitting the country. Is that something that you think this administration should take a look at? We know 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? 

TOM BOSSERT: I was here in the 2004 cycle of hurricanes four in six weeks that hit Florida. I think what’s prudent to us right now is to make sure that those response capabilities are there. Causality is something outside my ability to analyze right now. 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 floodwaters. I think one inch every ten years in Tampa and 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 in the predictable floods that we'll see and that has to do with engineering analysis and changing conditions along eroding shorelines but also in land, water, and flood control projects. So —

ACOSTA: Yeah 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 that, 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 hurricanes coming our way?

BOSSERT Well, I don’t know if I said either, but there is a cyclical nature to a lot of these hurricane seasons and I thank the scientists for their 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 trend analysis at a later date.

(.....)

3:17 p.m. Eastern

JONATHAN LEMIRE: In just a matter of weeks, two major storms that have been categorized as once in 500 years or even longer, major events have hit the United States. In light of that, has the President given any thought to reviewing his decision to leave the Paris climate accords? 

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: I'm not sure specifically on the Paris climate deal. But, as he said at the time, the goal is to always do our very best when it comes to taking care of the environment and taking proper steps. The United States is one of the best in the world at doing this. We want to continue to do that, but right now, the administration is focused on the recovery and relief efforts and as Tom said a few minutes ago, we'll look at that analysis the coming days and focus on the recovery and relief and saving life effort taking place. Hallie? 

HALLIE JACKSON: Two questions. To follow up on John's question a little bit here, since you said you did speak to the administration, can you clarify whether the President believes human activity contributes to climate change?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: The President has addressed this already. 

JACKSON: Has that changed given the storms? 

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I don't think that it's changed over the last several weeks and, again, he's addressed his opinion on that several times. 


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CyberAlerts Environment Global Warming Hurricanes Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Associated Press NBC CNN MSNBC Video Government & Press White House Press Briefing Jim Acosta Hallie Jackson Jonathan Lemire Sarah Huckabee Sanders
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