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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.): Time to Take Warming-Driven Extreme Weather Trends Seriously

Markey: Time to Take Warming-Driven Extreme Weather Trends Seriously

MAY 25, 2011
WASHINGTON (May 25, 2011) – Observations and predictions by climate scientists have for years pointed to global warming causing more intense rainfall; damaging floods and intense droughts; and increasingly unpredictable weather that will expose more people to danger. Recent reports by the National Research Council, an advisory board to the Vatican, and others have pointed to an increasing need for action to reduce the carbon pollution that is destabilizing the climate.
Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee and the co-author of the only climate bill to pass a body of Congress, today decried the attempts by Republicans to cut important funding to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  and its National Weather Service, which is currently providing important warnings to American citizens in the path of devastating tornadoes. House Republicans are also proposing to end funding for climate research at NOAA that would increase knowledge about the connections between human-driven climate change and extreme weather trends.
“Americans rely on NOAA and its National Weather Service to sound the siren when a storm is approaching, and give timely information to citizens on how to protect themselves from extreme weather events,” said Rep. Markey. “It is also vital to continue climate research funding to sound the sirens on the long-term impacts of unchecked global warming and look for ways to cut emissions to protect ourselves from worsening extreme weather trends.”
Teeing off the Ryan budget, the Republican committee that controls the purse strings for fiscal year 2012 cut funding to science agencies, including NOAA, by 13 percent from the president’s 2012 budget request. If this level of cut is carried through to the NOAA budget, it would decrease by $700 million.
These 2012 funding cuts are likely to include the U.S. Polar Orbiting Satellite, without which the weather predictions for events like the 2010 “Snowmageddon” snowstorms would have been drastically underestimated and would have significantly impacted the preparations and precautions taken by citizens and emergency managers.  Last year, NOAA also predicted heavy rainfall in the southern United States, providing flood information days, rather than hours, in advance, decreasing risks to life and property.
Rep. Markey noted that the recent Mississippi floods and the tornado outbreaks, as well as other climate events like the Texas drought and wildfires, cannot be individually linked to climate change, but do fit into larger predictions of weather trends.
“When it comes to climate change, there is plenty left to discover, and so much to lose,” said Rep. Markey. “Whether the links between these recent events and climate change are direct or indirect, they have all been deadly, and should cause us to look for answers, not sweep the questions under the rug.”

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