Blame Trump for Hurricane Florence?
That's CNN's suggestion.
CNN's political analyst, John Avlon, made the stunning claim Thursday during a segment called "Reality Check."
Is Trump "complicit in this storm?" asked Alisyn Camerota in the segment introduction.
"His policies have been tearing down our defenses to climate change, which is often a blame for extreme weather," Avlon answered. "On the same day Trump was discussing Florence, his EPA proposed rolling back restrictions on emissions of methane. That's just the latest environmental policy targeted by the Trump Administration."
Avlon rattled off a series of Obama-era environmental regulations the Trump Administration is rolling back -- including pulling out of the Paris climate accord -- and then boldly predicted a death toll in the thousands.
"It is so bad according to two Harvard scientists, it could lead to 80,000 unnecessary deaths every decade," Avlon said. "Warmer water means more intense storms. When President Trump called Hurricane Florence tremendously wet, he was on to something."
"This isn’t rocket science, it is climate science," he concluded. "As long as we continue to aggressively ignore it, the cost in lives and dollars will escalate. That’s your reality check."
Here's a complete transcript from segment:
CAMEROTA: “Now it is time for a CNN reality check as Florence bears down on the Carolinas. A damning ‘Washington Post’ editorial is calling President Trump, quote, ‘complicit in this storm,’ not for failing to prepare but for failing to address climate change. So a senior political analyst John Avlon has more for us. What do you see, John?”
AVLON: “That’s right, Ali. Look, President Trump has been reaching for storm superlatives, as he's one to do, the biggest, the worst, the more dangerous and who can forget, tremendously wet. But while President Trump has been talking up our preparedness his policies have been tearing down our defenses to climate change, which is often a blame for extreme weather. In fact on the same day Trump was discussing Florence from the Oval Office, his EPA proposed rolling back restrictions on emissions of methane, which is 25 time worst than carbon dioxide when it comes to climate change. And that’s just the latest environmental policy targeted by the Trump administration. According to July’s study from ‘The New York Times’ nearly 80 regulations could be on their way out. They include everything from no longer requiring chemical companies to report leaks, to cutting cars and trucks fuel efficiency, pulling the U.S. out of the parties climate accords, dismantling the clean power plant and opening nearly all coastline to offshore drilling. It is so bad that according to two Harvard scientists, Trump’s environmental policies could lead to an additional 80,000 unnecessary deaths every decade. Not convinced about the connection between climate change and extreme weather? Well warmer water means more intense storms. And when President Trump called hurricane Florence tremendously wet, he was actually on to something. The amount of precipitation in our worst storms increased nearly 20 percent between 1958 and 2007 according to one scientific study. And the relative number of these extreme storms is also up about 40 percent in that same period. But you don’t need to be a tree huger to recognize the cost of climate change. Here is a stat that will get the attention of ev en the most committed capitalists. The total cost of U.S. hurricanes this decades is more than $343 billion, that’s with the ‘B’. And southern states, a heart of Trump’s space, are the ones that have sustained the most damage and will likely face the greatest cost in the future. Just last month the Richmond Fed released a report that found, quote, ‘Evidence that higher summer temperatures could reduce overall U.S. economic growth by as much as one-third over the next century, with Southern states accounting for a disproportionate share of that potential reduction.’ And in 2012 North Carolina lawmakers passed a bill explicitly ignoring climate science, forcing officials to work from outdated predictions of sea level rise rather than later figures which were more dire. Their stated motive, to boost development along the coast, which is exactly where Florence is headed. Short term thinking isn’t sufficient to deal with long term problems. And here is the final stat that should get your attention. We found out late last month that the oldest ice in the Arctic is breaking up for the first time ever. New development that one scientist simply called scary. This isn’t rocket science folks, it’s climate science. And as long as we continue to aggressively ignore it, the cost in lives and dollars will only escalate. And that’s your reality check.”
CAMEROTA: “John Avlon that was really helpful. More precipitation we're seeing and they're seeing that right now in the Carolinas. Thank you very much."