Extreme Weather Could Replace Climate Change as Focus of Federal Agency

A bill sponsored by Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) whose state has suffered the ravages of recurrent tornadoes would direct the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to research predicting extreme weather events in lieu of climate change.
March 31, 2014, 6am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Congress may vote on April first on "legislation to require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to focus its efforts on storm predictions instead of researching climate change," writes Pete Kasperowicz on what won't be an April Fools bill.

The Weather Forecasting Improvement Act, H.R. 2413 was introduced last year by the freshman Bridenstine "after tornadoes hit his home state. Those storms led him to argue on the House floor the government spends too much on climate change research and not enough on developing weather forecasting tools to predict tornadoes and other events."

Bridenstine has moderated his bill since then, enough to draw seven Democrats as cosponsors. It "does not explicitly kick the government out of the business of studying climate change. But it does say NOAA must 'prioritize weather-related activities'..."

Specifically, the bill requires NOAA to take on the protection of lives and property as one of its core missions, and to improve weather-related research. Among other things, it creates a tornado warning program and requires development of a plan to improve tornado forecasting.

Last year, Politifact analyzed Bridenstine's charge that the "U.S. spends 30 times as much on climate change research as on weather forecasting." They took issue issue with his verbiage and determined that "the most obvious way to read his words is to compare climate-change research funding with dollars spent on 'weather forecasting and warning', which produces a 2.7-to-1 ratio."

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Published on Friday, March 28, 2014 in The Hill: E2 Wire
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