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The high cost of Irma and Harvey: $290 Billion

14 September 2017

When at the White House press briefing on Monday a reporter asked whether the two destructive hurricanes have changed the administration's position regarding climate change, Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert said that the issue is taken "seriously", but declined to spell out the administration's position. Tying such long-run trends to individual weather events is hard, although the great amount of precipitation generated by Harvey may allow scientists to establish a direct link in its case.

This statement reflects a risky ignorance of the issue and how we must approach climate solutions.

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"We believe the damage estimate from Irma to be about $100 billion, among the costliest hurricanes of all time", said the firm's CEO and founder Joel Myers. Harvey dumped a record-breaking 19 trillion gallons of rain water. "And also unprecedented is that this particular storm, Irma, has sustained intensity for the longest period of time of any hurricane or typhoon in any ocean of the world since the satellite era began". USDA workers are in the field determining damage from Irma, which battered Florida and some Caribbean islands over the weekend, he said.

Only 16 days after Hurricane Harvey devastated Rockport, Texas, another Category 4 hurricane made landfall in the U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt went as far as to criticize scientists last week for discussing "the cause and effect of these storms", saying that "to use time and effort to address it at this point is very, very insensitive to the people in Florida".

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And while these events are making headlines in the United States, we can not ignore the disasters happening globally. It is estimated that already over a million people are without power. He argued that the surface temperature of the Gulf of Mexico was lower then, and because Amelia delivered almost as much rain as Harvey, that warmer waters and climate change could not have played a role.

It is a sad irony that the governors of both of those two states deny the reality of human-caused climate change. Still, there are important questions to be answered.

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People who experience extreme weather events, such as droughts, hurricanes or tornadoes, aren't highly more likely to support climate change change adaptation policies, according to a new study involving an Indiana University researcher. I don't know his expertise but to make assertions as he did, he should give supporting scientific evidence to form the basis of his assertions.

The high cost of Irma and Harvey: $290 Billion