House GOP still says accurate weather forecasting and hurricane tracking are luxuries America can’t afford
Last month, Climate Progress reported on House Republicans’ shortsighted attempt to obliterate funding for new environmental monitoring satellites””the sole source of some data for weather and climate forecasters.
On Tuesday, in its latest three-week extension of government spending, the GOP, apparently not content with the depth of its evisceration, upped the ante by voting to cut an additional $115 million from NOAA’s Acquisition account. CAPAF’s Michael Conathan has the story.
As we wrote in February after the initial cuts passed the House:
At least an 18-month gap in coverage will be unavoidable without adequate funding for new polar-orbiting satellites this year. More troubling, taking an acquisition program offline and then restarting the process at a later date would lead to cost increases of as much as three to five times the amount the government would have to spend for the same product today.
So here’s the choice: Spend $700 million this year for continuous service or $2 billion to $3.5 billion at some point in the future for the same equipment and a guaranteed service interruption.
The tragic events in Japan serve as the most recent reminder that betting against Mother Nature is a losing proposition, yet House Republicans seem intent on insisting they can protect Americans without adequate information. They know the hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods are coming. Apparently we simply can’t afford to know when.
— Michael Conathan is the Director of Oceans Policy at the Center for American Progress. This is cross-posted at Science Progress.
ThinkProgress notes in a post on its interview with Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR):
DeFazio represents Oregon’s 4th district, where the tsunami devastated a local harbor and swept more than four people out to sea. DeFazio told ThinkProgress that furloughs at NOAA and other cuts to “our defense” against natural disasters were “crazy stuff” that would weaken the federal government’s already outdated disaster response system:”If you cut on detection of tidal waves, volcanic eruptions, severe weather events, weather buoys, satellite observation and weather patterns, those sorts of things, people will die. People will die from tornadoes in the Northwest, hurricanes or volcanic eruption or earthquakes. They are also cutting on preparedness funds that go down to the local organization down to the cities and counties, down to the first responders who need equipment.”
… NOAA employees have said the cuts will damage their “ability to upgrade tsunami models and will put considerable stress on watchstanders ability to react.” Yet Republican lawmakers have defended the cuts: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has said there is simply no money to fund the programs and Rep. Scott King (R-IA) warned yesterday that “we often over-react to natural disasters.”
Related Posts on Extreme Weather:
- Study: Global warming is driving increased frequency of extreme wet or dry summer weather in southeast, so droughts and deluges are likely to get worse
- Two seminal Nature papers join growing body of evidence that human emissions fuel extreme weather, flooding that harm humans and the environment
- As floods and extreme weather devastate the world, CBS News explains the link to global warming.
- The year of living dangerously. Masters: “The stunning extremes we witnessed gives me concern that our climate is showing the early signs of instability”; Munich Re: “The only plausible explanation for the rise in weather-related catastrophes is climate change“
- Stunning NOAA map of Tennessee’s 1000-year deluge