Just as Oklahoma is recovering from one of the worst tornadoes in history, freshman Republican representative, Jim Bridenstine, has some choice words for President Obama. In an address on the House floor, Bridenstine demanded an apology from President Obama for funding climate change research for substantially more than an early warning systems for natural disasters. During his speech he made several bold statements which have been refuted several times over by the scientific community.
“Even climate change alarmists admit the number of hurricanes hitting the U.S. and the numbers of tornado touchdowns have been on a slow decline for over 100 years… But here is what we absolutely know. We know that Oklahoma will have tornadoes when the cold jet stream meets the warm Gulf air, and we also know that this President spends 30 times as much money on global warming research as he does on weather forecasting and warning. For this gross misallocation, the people of Oklahoma are ready to accept the President’s apology and I intend to submit legislation to fix this.”
His first statement regarding tornado touchdowns and hurricanes is simply unfounded. There are a myriad of studies which prove the exact opposite. As a matter of fact, due to man-made global warming, natural disasters have actually increased in frequency and intensity. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States experienced the second-highest amount of extreme weather on record in 2012. A report conducted by the federal multi-agency U.S Global Change Research program stated:
“Some extreme weather and climate events have increased in recent decades, and there is new and stronger evidence that many of these increases are related to human activities.
Human-induced climate change has already increased the frequency and intensity of some extremes. Over the last 50 years, much of the U.S. has seen an increase in prolonged stretches of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, and in some regions more severe droughts.”
It is discouraging to know that Congressman Bridenstine sits on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. Bridenstine is also an ardent climate change denier. Obviously, 97 percent of scientists agree that climate change is occurring and has been induced by human behavior.
However, it isn’t shocking that we have such ignorant individuals sitting on the House Science Committee. He is one of many who don’t agree with the science regarding climate change. What is more disturbing is his knowledge regarding his own job. Congressman Bridenstine is awaiting an apology from President Obama regarding funding for early disaster warning systems, but it is his colleagues who are in charge of spending. The President can only make suggestions, and we all know how well that goes in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
It is true that federal assistance for community resilience programs and early warning systems have declined over the past decade. However, that has nothing to do with the President. As a matter of fact, his FY 2014 budget includes some infrastructure projects to help communities prepare for natural disasters.
“200 million for Climate Ready Infrastructure” that build enhanced preparedness to extreme weather and other impacts of climate change in their planning efforts and that have proposed or are ready to break ground on infrastructure projects to improve resilience.
These investments will support a broader Administration commitment to help communities become more resilient through direct technical assistance, provision of useful data and tools on projected impacts, and support for planning.”
Representative Bridenstine should look at his own party and ask for an apology. The Republicans are the self-proclaimed budget hawks who want to slash the budget to shreds. In addition, Republicans have not shown particular concern for science or infrastructure investments. The Democrats aren’t the ones who need to be convinced regarding these issues. As a matter of fact, in 2011, when the Teapublicans were on a federal budget slashing spree, one of the programs targeted for cuts was a next generation polar-orbiting satellite. The cuts threatened to delay the launch for 18 months. This satellite provides 90 percent of the information used by the National Weather Service. These polar orbiters are critical for providing early notice of unusually powerful storms and tornadoes.
Congressman Bridenstine really needs to re-evaluate who needs to give whom an apology. He also needs to go back into the Constitution and understand that the President doesn’t make the budget. His colleagues, more specifically his Republican colleagues, are the ones who are largely anti-science and want to cut these “useless” programs that can help save lives.
Here’s the video: