Trump baselessly questions climate science during California wildfire briefing

Clay Curtis
September 15, 2020

Scientists say the wildfires are all but inevitable, but that the main drivers are plants and trees drying out due to climate change and more people living closer to areas that burn.

The U.S. presidential race on Monday turned its focus to the wildfires sweeping the Pacific Northwest, with President Donald Trump set to visit California after blaming the blazes on poor forest management and Democratic challenger Joe Biden speaking about the role of climate change in stoking the fires. You just watch."Mr Crowfoot retorted: "I wish science agreed with you."Mr Trump claimed: "Well, I don't think science knows actually". "There is no more water pouring through them".

"With regard to the forest, when trees fall down, after a short period of time, about 18 months, they become very dry and like a match stick", Trump said.

"You're the reason they're setting fires up here", she said, perhaps referring to false rumors that left-wing activists had sparked the wildfires. Biden said. "If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if more of America is ablaze?"

Biden, in an outdoor speech near his home in Wilmington, decried Trump's refusal to acknowledge the scientific underpinning of the climate crisis as "unconscionable" and said the US leader had failed to protect the country from the "ravages of climate change".

After sharing the video of the exchange online, Jamie Henn, co-founder of 350.org who now runs Fossil Free Media, said: "I thought I'd find it amusing watching this, but instead it's just chilling: as the West Coast faces a climate catastrophe, the president laughs at them and denies the problem exists".

Trump, who pulled the United States out of the Paris accord that laid out an global approach to combat climate change, has authorized federal disaster aid for both California and Oregon.

Wildfires have ravaged parts of California, Oregon and Washington, so far leaving at least 35 people dead and burning almost five million acres.

California governor Gavin Newsom said earlier this week: "The debate is over, around climate change.

And now we have a blow torch over our states in the West, which is climate change", Inslee said on ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos. "Something has happened to the plumbing of the world. and we submit the science is self evident that climate change is real".

The governor also pushed back on Trump's perspective that climate change is not the primary cause of fires.

Of at least 35 people killed by the blazes since the beginning of summer, 27 died this week alone.

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Trump has made little comment about the blazes in recent weeks, but at a Nevada campaign event on Saturday he acknowledged the scope of the disaster.

Newsom, after touring an area around Lake Oroville burned by wildfire last week, said the memorandum commits federal and state agencies to do more to reduce wildfire risks.

"This moment requires action, not denial", he said in a tweet. "We absolutely must act now to avoid a future defined by an unending barrage of tragedies like the one American families are enduring across the West today", Biden wrote.

Most of the fatalities have occurred in California and OR, with emergency services in the two states recording 34 deaths.

More than 30,000 firefighters are battling the blazes, with officials warning that improved weather could end Monday as windier conditions return.

In California, evacuations were ordered for the northern tip of the San Gabriel Valley suburb of Arcadia as the Bobcat Fire threatened communities.

He said forest management changes were something that could be tackled quickly, whereas climate change would take more time.

He said seven people remain missing.

Paul Clement described to AFP how he fled his home in Berry Creek. "You drop a cigarette on it, you come back an hour later and you have a forest fire".

"A lot of good work has been completed in the last few days, and we're going to continue to strive to connect all the dots and get this mopped up as soon as possible", said Cal Fire Night Operation Chief Monty Smith.

California, Oregon and Washington state have seen historic wildfires that have burned faster and farther than ever before.

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