Trump baselessly questions climate science during California wildfire briefing

Rodiano Bonacci
Settembre 15, 2020

The wildfires sweeping the West Coast of the United States took centre stage in the USA election campaign on Monday, with President Donald Trump visiting California and blaming the blazes on poor forest management while his Democratic challenger Joe Biden stressed the role of climate change.

He noted that just in the last month, California had its hottest August, with world-record-setting heat in Death Valley.

Biden and Trump have offered vastly different visions when it comes to tackling the issue of climate change.

"If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if we have more of America ablaze?"

President Donald Trump is expected to be briefed about the wildfires during a stop near Sacramento, California, on Monday. He tweeted appreciation of firefighters and emergency responders on Friday, the first public comments he had made in weeks about the fires that have killed dozens, burned millions of acres and forced thousands from their homes.

In an exchange with California's Secretary for National Resource during a briefing on the wildfires across the state, Mr Trump hit back at climate change arguments.

Ralph Propper, president of the Environmental Council of Sacramento, told the Associated Press: "Raking the leaves and forest floors is really inane. Also leaves. When you have dried leaves on the ground, it's just fuel for the fires", Mr Trump said. "So they have to do something about it".

Minutes earlier, Democratic challenger Joe Biden branded Mr Trump a "climate arsonist" whose policies are contributing to natural disasters.

DONALD TRUMP: OK. It'll start getting cooler.

"It's often hard to know what Trump means", Balch added.

The Director of Oregon's office of emergency management, Andrew Phelps, said at least 10 people have died amid growing fears of "mass fatality". "There's no way we're going to log our way out of this fire problem". He has not embraced, for instance, some of the most progressive elements of the Green New Deal.

Search and rescue teams, with dogs in tow, were deployed across the blackened ruins of southern OR towns on Sunday as smoldering wildfires continue to ravage the USA west and officials warn of mass casualties.

"With every bout with nature's fury, caused by our own inaction on climate change, more Americans see and feel the devastation in big cities, small towns, on coastlines and farmlands", Biden said in prepared remarks. "But if he gets a second term, these hellish events will continue to become more common and more devastating and more deadly".

Shortly upon landing in McClellan Park, California ahead of a briefing on the wildfires and surveying the damage from the relentless blaze, Trump told reporters that a "lot of things were possible" when pressed on whether climate change was worsening the wildfires. Most of the largest firefighting aircraft have not been utilized in recent days due to heavy smoke limiting visibility. Wildfires are burning the suburbs in the West. Floods are wiping out suburban neighborhoods in the Midwest.

In 2015, Trump stated bluntly: "I'm not a believer in global warming, I'm not a believer in man-made global warming".

The governors have been blunt: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Sunday called climate change "a blowtorch over our states in the West". "No more more people, right?"

Mr Newsom acknowledged that "we have not done justice on our forest management", though he pointed out that more than half of the land in California is under federal, not state control.

More than 4,000 homes and other structures have been incinerated in California alone over the past three weeks.

As Common Dreams reported earlier Monday, a new comprehensive study-which relied on an analysis of tens of millions of years of atmospheric records trapped in layers of the earth's subsurface-found that the world is now on track to hit a warming threshold it has not witnessed in more than 34 million years.

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