FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Toni Aguilar Rosenthal, firstname.lastname@example.org
Today the Revolving Door Project released a petition calling on Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to remove Acting Director Jamie Rhome from his position running the National Hurricane Center (NHC) at the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA).
NHC Acting Director Rhome, while discussing the potential path and impact of Hurricane Ian before it descended on Southwest Florida, “cautioned against” linking Hurricane Ian’s historic intensity to climate change. This questionable statement — regardless of what prompted it —feeds into a fraught rhetoric of climate denialism that fundamentally undermines hurricane preparedness procedures and endangers the country’s coastal communities. Climate science about warming temperatures causing more intense hurricanes is fully settled, as has been concretely established by both domestic authorities (like NASA) and international authorities (like the National Academies and the IPCC). These and other scientific bodies have confirmed that climate change is objectively worsening extreme weather events, making their landfall more costly to communities.
Hurricane Ian may well be the deadliest hurricane to have ever hit Florida in no small part because of climate change. Vulnerable communities cannot afford to have the leaders who are charged with their care be ignorant of or apathetic to the role of climate change in these events.
President Biden has committed to ensuring that his entire administration will use every lever necessary to fight against as well as adapt to the horrific reality of climate change. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo should remove Rhome from his position leading the NHC and replace him with a scientist who accepts settled science, who understands the impact of climate change on hurricanes, and who is willing to publicly defend scientific fact.
“Gina Raimondo at White House Daily Briefing” by C-SPAN is licensed under CC BY 2.0