California Burns Because of the Climate Crisis While Trump Undermines Efforts to Help
Trump, joined by California Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom and FEMA Administrator Brock Long, visits a neighborhood on Nov. 17, 2018, in Malibu, California, devastated by the Woolsey fire. Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead
While California wrestles with increased frequency and severity of wildfires due to the climate crisis, President Trump continues to take steps to stop the nation’s most populous state from taking any climate-related action.
The state’s leaders have tried to decrease pollution from tailpipe emissions, enter into climate agreements with Quebec and strike emission’s standards deals with automakers. In response, Trump sued the state for entering into deals with automakers and with foreign governments. The administration then recruited five large automakers to take its side in rolling back California’s standards, even though cars, trucks and buses are America’s largest contributors to global warming, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Now the Trump administration will offer funds for the victims of wildfires, but will actively prevent action to stop the cause of them, which has exasperated California’s governor, as The New York Times reported.
“We’re waging war against the most destructive fires in our state’s history, and Trump is conducting a full-on assault against the antidote,” Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said in an interview, as The New York Times reported.
While the Trump administration has waged an assault on the environment — directing the EPA to roll back many environmental regulations and protections for threatened species — California has filed over 60 lawsuits against the administration’s actions since 2017, according to the New Yorker magazine.
The hits keep coming as Trump threatened to cut off federal funding for California’s disaster relief. Trump sounded off on Twitter and to the press on Sunday, blaming Newsom for forest mismanagement. However, none of the blazes that tore through California were forest fires.
“The Governor of California, @GavinNewsom, has done a terrible job of forest management,” Trump tweeted early Sunday, as NBC News reported. “I told him from the first day we met that he must ‘clean’ his forest floors regardless of what his bosses, the environmentalists, DEMAND of him. Must also do burns and cut fire stoppers. Every year, as the fire’s rage & California burns, it is the same thing-and then he comes to the Federal Government for $ help. No more. Get your act together Governor. You don’t see close to the level of burn in other states.”
Trump then spoke to reporters outside the White House later in the day yesterday and said, “You’ve got fires eating away at California every year because management is so bad. The governor doesn’t know; he’s like a child, he doesn’t know what he’s doing. And I’ve been telling them this for two years. They’ve got to take care of it. Every year it’s always California, it’s rarely somebody else or someplace else.”
The largest, deadliest and most destructive wildfires in the state have all occurred in the last two years. Scientific research says that global warming has increased the risks of wildfires substantially as abnormally hot temperatures dry out the trees and shrubs so they burn more quickly and easily, as Adam Sobel, an atmospheric scientist wrote in The New York Times.
While the Trump administration and many politicians are undermining efforts to stop the climate crisis, Californians have spent the last two weeks feeling its effects.
“The seas are rising, diseases are spreading, fires are burning, hundreds of thousands of people are leaving their homes,” said Jerry Brown, Newsom’s predecessor as California governor, to a hearing in Washington last week, as The New York Times reported. “California is burning while the deniers fight the standards that can help us all.”
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