President Trump has dismissed concerns over change in climate change on a visit to fire-ravaged California, telling an official there it would “start getting cooler”.
Blazes in California, Oregon, and Washington state have burned almost 2m hectares (5m acres) of land and killed at least 36 people since early August. Donald Trump blames the crisis on poor forest management. Recently, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called Mr. Trump “a climate arsonist”.
He expressed during an event in Delaware that four more years of his opponent in the White House would see “more of America ablaze”.
While in a visit to the US West Coast, Donald Trump repeated his argument that poor forest management was to blame as he met Californian officials involved in the battle with the wildfires at a stop near Sacramento, in the center of the state.
While dismissing the plea of one official to not “ignore the science” on climate change, Mr. Trump said: “It’ll start getting cooler, you just watch… I don’t think science knows actually.”
On the reporter in California asked whether climate change was a factor in the massive wildfires, Mr. Trump responded: “I think this is more of a management situation.”
He claimed that other countries had not dealt with the same level of forest fires, despite major conflagrations in Australia and the Amazon rainforest in recent years that experts attributed to the changing climate.
“They don’t have problems like this,” he said. “They have very explosive trees, but they don’t have problems like this.”
He added: “When you get into climate change, well is India going to change its ways? And is China going to change its ways? And Russia? Is Russia going to change its ways?”
The climate change has front-and-center in the US presidential campaign at least for one day. Mr. Trump downplayed the role a warming planet could have in the devastation in California, and that the recent conflagrations were an issue of proper forest management. Meanwhile, Joe Biden went on the attack, saying the president ignores a “central crisis” facing the nation.
The environment in spite of being typically a sideline issue, getting scant attention even during the Democratic primaries, the topic is one on which President Trump and Mr. Biden are sharply divided.
The administration of Mr. Donald Trump has already rolled back more than 70 environmental regulations, many of which deal with climate change, while also withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Agreement. Mr. Biden, on the other hand, has moved to the left on the environment in recent months, expanding on his original plan for spending $1.7tn infrastructure and green jobs over 10 years to $2tn over four years.
Even with this attention, the environment still ranks behind issues like healthcare and the economy for most Americans. It is, however, an important topic for younger voters – a group that Mr. Biden, in particular, is eager to get to the polls in November.