Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Politicizing The Air

It’s inevitable in an election year.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden excoriated President Trump on Monday over his environmental record as wildfires continued to burn through much of the West and as the president used a trip to California to question the scientific consensus that climate change is a leading cause of the devastating blazes.

Biden said during a speech in Wilmington, Del., that the “undeniable, accelerating, punishing reality” of global warming was playing out in the wildfires and hurricanes that have marked the end of summer, arguing it is a problem that “requires action, not denial.”

Across the country in California, Trump sought to pin the blame for the fires on another culprit — forest management — while shrugging off warnings that human-caused climate warming will continue to make Western states a tinderbox with annual fires that destroy communities.

“It will start getting cooler. You just watch,” he said during a briefing with state and local leaders in McClellan Park, Calif.

Yeah, funny how that works. It’s called “change of seasons.” Trump has a habit of waiting for nature to take its course, just as he did with Covid-19: “It will go away when it gets warm.”

Yeah. How’d that work out? Let’s ask my dad.

As for “poor forest management,” the overwhelming majority of forest land that is on fire is under the management of the federal government, either the Department of the Interior for the parks and the Department of Agriculture for the national forests. California has control over about 3%. And yet somehow it’s Gov. Newsome’s fault for not sweeping the forest floor.

The dueling appearances injected the issue of climate change squarely into a presidential campaign that has been dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, a faltering economy, racial justice protests and questions about which candidate has the character to lead. But the warming of the planet and its impact on daily life are now difficult to ignore, with millions of acres burning in California, Oregon and Washington state, leading to dozens of deaths, tens of thousands displaced and skies filled with a smoky, dangerous haze that blocks out the sun.

Biden called Trump a “climate arsonist” who had belittled the factors worsening the wildfires, and he likened the president’s stewardship of natural disasters to his handling of the pandemic and racial tensions across the country that flared this summer following police shootings of Black people.

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

While heavily criticizing the president for what he called a lack of vision, Biden stuck to promoting climate policies with wide support and avoided addressing politically thorny topics like the Green New Deal many liberal activists have demanded.

Joe Biden has no real need to propose anything new or radical other than going back to what he and President Obama and the rest of the world agreed to in the Paris Accords. It’s pretty obvious that the only reason Trump and the Republicans reject that policy is because it was put forth by Obama because he’s Obama.

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