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National News

While in California, Trump Continues to Dispute Climate Change, Insists It Will Get Colder

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While in California, Trump Continues to Dispute Climate Change, Insists It Will Get Colder

2020-09-15 18:28:50

By Laura Tucker, Staff writers; Image: Donald Trump discussing wildfires and climate change (Image source: Screenshot)

Donald Trump visited California for the first time since this year's wildfires began raging. He became embroiled in a conversation about climate change and its effect on the wildfires and continued to dispute that climate change exists.

During a briefing with state and federal officials, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) told the president: "We feel very strongly the hots are getting hotter, the dries are getting drier."

"Something has happened to the plumbing of the world, and we come from a perspective, humbly, that we assert that the science is in, and the observed evidence is self-evident that climate change is real. Please respect the difference of opinion out here with respect to the fundamental issue of climate change," he explained.

In other words, it was fair warning to Trump that this is something that would upset them to be told it doesn't exist, and they simply don't want to hear it. Trump responded, "Absolutely."

However, shortly after that, California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot gave a presentation, and Trump issued, "It will start getting cooler, you just watch."

Crowfoot told him science disagreed, and Trump responded, "I don't think science knows."

This happened while Crowfoot was highlighting the effects of warming, with Death Valley breaking a world record and temperatures reaching 103 degrees. Trump didn't respond but did raise his eyebrows.

On the same day, Democratic nominee Joe Biden was delivering a speech in a meadow outside a natural history museum near his Wilmington, Delaware, home. He referred to the president as a "climate arsonist."

"It shouldn't be so bad that millions of Americans live in the shadow of an orange sky and are left asking, 'Is doomsday here?' " queried Biden.

Biden spoke against Trump's inaction with climate change and his accusation that California is doing a poor job raking leaves in forests as he threatened to withhold federal aid. He also accused Trump of trying to stoke racist fears in suburban voters about inclusive housing policies, noting that it's natural disasters that are caused by climate change that pose the biggest threat to suburbs.

"If we have four more years of Trump's climate denial, how many more suburbs will burn from wildfires?" asked the former vice president.

"Donald Trump's climate denial may not have caused these fires and record floods and record hurricanes, but if he gets a second term, these hellish events will continue to become more common, more devastating, and more deadly," said Biden.

Later in the day, Biden appeared at a virtual fundraiser hosted by House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Haim Saban, a bigwig in the entertainment industry. "The West is literally on fire, and it's still about [Trump]."

Biden has proposed a $2-trillion plan for climate action. It hasn't seen much attention from voters, as they're more concerned now about the coronavirus pandemic, police brutality, and election integrity.

Trump gave his own theory behind wildfire while in California with state officials and scientists. He said, "When trees fall down after a short period of time, they become very dry — really like a matchstick ... and they can explode," then added, "Also leaves. When you have dried leaves on the ground, it's just fuel for the fires.

After that Kindergarten-level explanation, Trump said, "I was talking to the head of a foreign country, and they said, 'We consider ourselves a forest nation. We have trees that are far more explosive than they have in California, and we don't have that problem."

Newsom acknowledged that federal and state officials have fallen short on forest management. Forestry officials explained that after years of policies that were created to suppress as many wildfires as possible, fuel was allowed to accumulate in forests across the West. The governor then stressed that all those problems were intensified by drought that has been worsened by climate change.

Back in Delaware, Biden said Trump's hostility toward climate science shows him to be a president who "won't listen to the experts or treat this disaster with the urgency it demands, as any president should do during a national emergency."

He pledged that if elected, he will immediately work toward reviving and updating climate initiatives from the Obama administration that Trump threw out and will push for large-scale investment in public works that would push the country toward green energy. Trump sees such policies as out of touch with American attitudes about energy.

These are feelings he has that he can't even back up. When he landed in California, he was asked why he waited so long to visit. "That's a nasty question he replied and said he ultimately did approve disaster aid for the state. 

"I got a call from your governor immediately. On that call, I declared it a national emergency. That's a nasty question," Trump reiterated. 

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