We didn’t start the fire

Source: BY KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico • Posted: Tuesday, September 15, 2020

President Donald Trump visited California on Monday and reaffirmed his belief that the state’s deadly wildfires are the result of poor forest management — despite being face-to-face with state officials who directly connected the flames to established science that says climate change is a primary factor.

Wade Crowfoot, the head of the California’s Natural Resources Agency, challenged the president on his climate change views. “I think we want to work with you to really recognize the changing climate and what it means for our forests and actually work together with that science,” Crowfoot told the president, but he also argued that it would be misguided to “sort of put our heads in the sand and think it’s all about vegetation management.”

Trump pointedly rejected the climate science that shows global temperatures will continue rising because of increasing greenhouse gases from using fossil fuels. While forest management plays a role, scientists say the drier, hotter conditions and shifting precipitation patterns brought by climate change are a primary factor for recent wildfires.

“It’ll start getting cooler, just watch,” Trump said. Crowfoot then responded that he did not think “the science agrees with you,” to which Trump retorted: “I don’t think science knows, actually.” After the briefing Crawfoot fired back at the president on Twitter, posting a graph of California’s average temperature from June to September, with a trendline showing that figure steadily increasing over the last four decades.

And in an open letter to Trump, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee saidTrump’s refusal to address climate change will only accelerate the devastating wildfires, and called his false comments that it will get cooler “an abandonment of leadership.” Inslee added: “I would urge you to abandon your half-baked theories and engage in good faith about the obvious relationship between climate change and wildfires.”