by Judith Curry
On Tuesday June 25, I will be testifying before the House Oversight and Reform Environmental Subcommittee in a Hearing on Recovery, Resilience and Readiness – Contending with Natural Disasters in the Wake of Climate Change.
The announcement for the Hearing is posted [here]. The Hearing starts at 2 pm EDT. Based on previous Hearings from the Committee, live streaming should be available at the above link (also link to the written testimonies), and also a podcast for later viewing.
From the Hearing announcement:
- The Subcommittee will examine federal, state, and local preparations for the 2019 hurricane and wildfire season and assess the status of recoveries from the Southern California wildfires of 2017-2018 and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in Houston, Texas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
- The hearing will also highlight the fundamental challenges that climate change poses to federal disaster preparedness and recovery, including the link between warmer global temperatures and more intense hurricane and wildfire seasons.
- Due to climate change, “the number of hurricanes that reach Categories 4 and 5 in strength has roughly doubled” since the 1970s and “there are no longer distinct wildfire ‘seasons’—there are just wildfires all the time.”
- In March 2018, FEMA removed all references to “climate change” from its strategic plans for the next four years.
- Nearly two years after Hurricane Maria and Irma, millions of Americans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are still living in dire conditions. For example, the island of Vieques, where approximately 9,000 Americans reside, had one main hospital that was destroyed by Maria, but the hospital has yet to be rebuilt. Mental health problems have also increased dramatically as suicide crisis hotlines in Puerto Rico “reported a 246 percent increase in suicide attempts from November 2017 through January 2018, compared with the numbers from the same time last year.”
- The Governmental Accountability Office’s (GAO) audits related to the 2017 natural disaster season uncovered logistical problems with resource distribution, lack of training of responders in local customs and traditions, and insufficient coordination and information sharing between federal agencies and non-governmental organizations such as the Red Cross and local community groups.
Note: I did not see the BACKGROUND write up until Saturday (yesterday), where I spotted the ‘“the number of hurricanes that reach Categories 4 and 5 in strength has roughly doubled” since the 1970s. I did testify to this effect in 2006, when I testified before the same committee [link to my 2006 testimony]. I can already predict one of the questions that I will get asked in the Hearing.
Mr. Stephen Costello
Chief Recovery Officer, City of Houston
Mr. Wade Crowfoot
Secretary of Natural Resources, State of California
Mr. Christopher Currie
Director, Emergency Management, Disaster Recovery & DHS Management Issues, on behalf of U.S. Government Accountability Office
Dr. Judith Curry
President, Climate Forecast Applications Network
Dr. Daniel Kaniewski
Deputy Administrator for Resilience, Acting Deputy Administrator, on behalf of Federal Emergency Management Agency
Dr. Michael Mann
Distinguished Professor of Meteorology, Director, Earth System Science Center, on behalf of The Pennsylvania State University
Mr. Omar Marrero
Executive Director, Central Office of Recovery and Reconstruction of Puerto Rico
Director, Office of Disaster Recovery, on behalf of Virgin Islands Public Finance Authority
You can see that most of the witnesses are on the front lines of resilience and recovery from disasters. And then there is moi and Michael Mann.
The list of Subcommittee members is [here]. Most of these names are unfamiliar to me. Three of the Democratic members are from California. Two of the members are associated with the Green New Deal:
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
- Rashida Tlaib
Often at these hearings, only a small subset of the members actually show up. This is never predictable (at least from where I sit).
On the day of the Hearing, my testimony and text of my verbal remarks will be posted in a blog post at 1:30 pm EDT on Jun 25.