Trump spurns science on climate: ‘Don’t think science knows’

Trump spurns science on climate: ‘Don’t think science knows’

Trump spurns science on climate: ‘Don’t think science knows’

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With the smell of California wildfires in the air, President Donald Trump on Monday ignored the scientific consensus that climate change is playing a central role in historic West Coast infernos and renewed his unfounded claim that failure to rake forest floors and clear dead timber is mostly to blame.

The fires are threatening to become another front in Trump’s reelection bid, which is already facing hurdles because of the coronavirus pandemic, joblessness and social unrest. His Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, in his own speech Monday said the destruction and mounting death toll across California, Oregon and Washington require stronger presidential leadership and labeled Trump a “climate arsonist.”

Trump travelled to Northern California to be briefed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and other state and federal officials. At one point, state Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot urged the president to “recognize the changing climate and what it means to our forests.”

“If we ignore that science and sort of put our head in the sand and think it’s all about vegetation management, we’re not going to succeed together protecting Californians,” Crowfoot added.

Trump responded, “It will start getting cooler, just you watch.”

Crowfoot politely pushed back that he wished the science agreed with the president. Trump countered, “I don’t think science knows, actually.”

That striking moment came on a day of dueling campaign events, with Trump and Biden dramatically contrasting their outlooks on climate change — and the impact it has had on the record-setting fires ravaging the West Coast.

Trump’s suggestion that the planet is going to start to unexpectedly cool is at odds with reality, experts say.

“Maybe there is a parallel universe where a pot on the stove with the burner turned to high ‘starts getting cooler.’ But that is not our universe,” said Stanford University climate scientist Chris Field.

Biden lashed at Trump, saying the moment requires “leadership, not scapegoating” and that “it’s clear we are not safe in Donald Trump’s America.”

“This is another crisis, another crisis he won’t take responsibility for,” Biden said. He said that if voters give “a climate denier” another four years in the White House, “why would we be surprised that we have more of America ablaze?”

Trump, who was briefed during a stop near Sacramento before a campaign visit to Phoenix, had been mostly quiet as the catastrophe on the West Coast has unfolded over the past few weeks. He tweeted appreciation of firefighters and emergency responders on Friday, the first public comments he had made in weeks about the fires that have killed dozens, burned millions of acres and forced thousands from their homes.

The president arrived at at Sacramento McClellan Airport to the powerful scent of smoke from the fires burning some 90 miles away.

He contended anew that Democratic state leaders are to blame for failing to rake leaves and clear dead timber from forest floors. Trump offered no evidence to support his claim, and wildfire experts and forest managers say raking leaves makes no sense for vast U.S. wilderness and forests. And many of the blazes have roared through coastal chaparral and grasslands, not forest.

“When you have years of leaves, dried leaves on the ground, it just sets it up,” Trump said. “It’s really a fuel for a fire. So they have to do something about it.”

University of Colorado fire scientist Jennifer Balch called Trump’s deflecting blame on forest managers “infuriating.”

“It’s often hard to know what Trump means,” Balch added. “If by forest management he means clear-cutting, that’s absolutely the wrong solution to this problem. … There’s no way we’re going to log our way out of this fire problem.”

Biden, who gave his climate speech in Delaware on Monday, released a $2 trillion plan in July to boost investment in clean energy and stop all climate-damaging emissions from U.S. power plants by 2035.

But as the wildfires rage, some climate activists have expressed frustration that Biden has not been more forceful on the issue. He has not embraced, for instance, some of the most progressive elements of the Green New Deal.

To that end, Biden in his address did not wade into political and policy disagreements among Democrats, progressive activists and even some Republicans who acknowledge the climate crisis. As he has before, Biden sought to frame his energy proposals as an immediate necessity and a long-term economic boon focusing more on new jobs and a cleaner economy that would offset any initial costs.

“Donald Trump’s climate denial may not have caused these fires and hurricanes,” Biden said. “But if he gets a second term, these hellish events will continue to become more common and more devastating and more deadly.”

Trump visited McClellan Park, a former U.S. Air Force Base about 10 miles outside Sacramento that is used by firefighters as a staging area for large aircraft used in combating blazes. Most of the largest firefighting aircraft have not been utilized in recent days due to heavy smoke limiting visibility.

Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, will return to her home state Tuesday to meet with emergency service personnel to be briefed on the state’s wildfires.

In 2015, Trump stated bluntly: “I’m not a believer in global warming, I’m not a believer in man-made global warming.” After the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report concluded climate change would hurt the economy, Trump said he read it but didn’t believe it. In September 2019, he falsely slammed the Green New Deal as an effort that would lead to “No more cows. No more planes … no more people, right?”

Climate scientists say rising heat and worsening droughts in California consistent with climate change have expanded what had been the state’s autumn wildfire season to year-round, sparking bigger, deadlier and more frequent fires.

All five of the state’s largest fires in history have raged in the past three years, including the deadliest fire, a 2018 blaze that killed 85 people when it swept through the town of Paradise on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada. Trump during his Monday visit awarded seven members of the California National Guard the Distinguished Flying Cross for the rescue of dozens of Californians during the 2018 Paradise fires.

An analysis out in August from Stanford climate and wildfire researcher Michael Goss and others found that a nearly 2-degree (1 Celsius) rise in autumn temperatures and 30 per cent drop in rainfall has more than doubled the number of autumn days with extreme fire weather over the past 40 years.

___

Weissert reported from Wilmington, Del., Knickmeyer from Oklahoma City and Madhani from Chicago. Associated Press writers Bill Barrow in Atlanta, Juliet Williams in San Francisco and Seth Borenstein in Kensington, Maryland, contributed reporting.

Jonathan Lemire, Aamer Madhani, Will Weissert And Ellen Knickmeyer, The Associated Press

Donald Trump

 

Trump spurns science on climate: ‘Don’t think science knows’

Just Posted

(Advocate file photo)
Pastor, candidate under restraining order arrested for allegedly breaking COVID laws

CALGARY — A Calgary mayoral candidate who is under a restraining order… Continue reading

Pro-Palestinian protesters run from police following a demonstration in Montreal, Sunday, May 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Tensions flare at Israel-Palestinian demonstrations in Montreal, Toronto

Tensions ran high at competing demonstrations over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in both… Continue reading

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, then-vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, participates in a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. An expert in military affairs says the sudden departure of the  general in charge of Canada's vaccine rollout is unlikely to have any impact on the high-profile program. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canada to get 4.5M vaccine doses as questions swirl around immunization effort

OTTAWA — Canada is set to receive a large infusion of COVID-19… Continue reading

Israelis take cover as a siren sounds a warning of incoming rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon, southern Israel, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Heidi Levine)
Israeli strikes hit Gaza tunnels as diplomats work for truce

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Israeli military unleashed a wave… Continue reading

John Guise is seen at 4 weeks and one day after his birth, weighing two pounds and three ounces, in hospital in Hamilton, Ont., in an Aug. 1 1979, handout photo. Canadian researchers who've tracked a group of men who were born prematurely at a weight of less than one kilogram are finding they tend to age more quickly than male babies who aren't born prematurely. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-John Guise, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Boys born prematurely and very small age faster as men, study suggests

Canadian researchers who tracked a group of men who were born prematurely… Continue reading

Mayor Rick Bonnett. (Screenshot)
WATCH: Ponoka council calls on gov’t to support rural small businesses

Ponoka council is calling on the provincial government to increase funding to… Continue reading

Calgary Flames players celebrate the team's overtime win against the Vancouver Canucks during an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, May 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Lindholm OT winner gives Flames 6-5 win over Canucks despite blowing four-goal lead

VANCOUVER — In a game with little to play for besides pride,… Continue reading

In this photo taken on May 13, 2021, Russia's performer, Manizha, smiles during an interview after rehearsing at the Eurovision Song Contest at Ahoy arena in Rotterdam, Netherlands. For many, the stage and global television audience of millions is a chance to express messages of inclusion, strength and positivity. Manizha has a message of strength for women in her song whose lyrics include the lines: "Every Russian Woman. Needs to know. You're strong enough to bounce against the wall." (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Eurovision Song Contest returns despite coronavirus pandemic

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — Pounding beats? Check. Uplifting lyrics? Check. Huge, backlit… Continue reading

Serena Williams of the United States returns the ball to Italy's Lisa Pigato during their match at the Emilia Romagna Open tennis tournament, in Parma, Monday, May 17, 2021. Serena Williams earned her first victory in more than three months by beating 17-year-old qualifier Lisa Pigato 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the Emilia-Romagna Open. Williams accepted a wild-card invitation for the Parma tournament after losing her opening match at the Italian Open last week. (AP Photo/Marco Vasini)
Serena Williams posts 1st victory in more than 3 months

PARMA, Italy (AP) — Serena Williams earned her first victory in more… Continue reading

In this Oct. 21, 2014 file photo, people pass an AT&T store in New York's Times Square. AT&T will combine its media operations that include CNN HBO, TNT and TBS in a $43 billion deal with Discovery, the owner of lifestyle networks including the Food Network and HGTV. The deal announced Monday, May 17, 2021, would create a separate media company as households increasingly abandon cable and satellite TV, looking instead at Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
AT&T, Discovery join media brands as cord-cutting encroaches

NEW YORK (AP) — AT&T will combine its massive media operations that… Continue reading

The Minnesota Wild celebrate their overtime victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Eriksson Ek’s OT goal lifts Wild past Vegas 1-0

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Joel Eriksson Ek’s goal at 3:20 of overtime… Continue reading

Toronto Blue Jays' Lourdes Gurriel Jr., celebrates after hitting a double against the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Girardi, Segura have confrontation as Phils lose to Jays

Blue Jays 10 Phillies 8 DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — The injury-depleted Philadelphia… Continue reading

New York Islanders' Kyle Palmieri (21) returns to the bench after scoring during the first period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Palmieri’s OT winner lifts Isles by Penguins 4-3 in Game 1

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The New York Islanders brought Kyle Palmieri home at… Continue reading

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine an update from Federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19, Tuesday, May 11, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP)
Fauci says pandemic exposed ‘undeniable effects of racism’

ATLANTA (AP) — The immunologist who leads the COVID-19 response in the… Continue reading

Most Read