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FEMA Administrator Testifies That Hurricanes are Affected by Climate Change

NOAA GOES-16_HurricaneMaria_PuertoRicoBy Dr. Marc Kodack

In case you missed it: On July 24, the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Environment held a hearing on “FEMA’s Natural Preparedness and Response Efforts During the Coronavirus Pandemic.” The sole witness was Mr. Peter Gaynor, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security. The following is a citation to the witness’s written statement, and a verbatim transcript of an exchange between a Member and the witness.

Written Testimony

Mr. Peter Gaynor, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency

Full, written statement here. Climate change is not explicitly mentioned anywhere in the statement.

Question and Answer Transcript

In response to a question about climate change asked by Representative Jackie Speier, Mr. Gaynor replied as follows.

I believe the climate has changed. And I’ll just use hurricanes. You can look back at the history of hurricanes over the last 75 years or more—more frequent, more costly, more damage. So, the climate has changed (source of quote).

A video of the hearing is not yet available, but will be posted here.

Members Attending the Hearing

Harley Rouda (D-California, Chairman); James Comer (R-Kentucky, Ranking Member); Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan); Jackie Speier (D-California); Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands); Nydia Velazquez (D-New York)

Dr. Marc Kodack is Senior Fellow at the Center for Climate and Security and former Sustainability and Water Program Manager in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Energy and Sustainability.

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