‘The facts are undeniable’: Biden blames climate change for worsening California, Oregon wildfires

Chris White, DCNF

Former Vice President Joe Biden will deliver an address from Delaware on Monday connecting climate change to worsening wildfires on the West Coast, a spokesman for Biden said Sunday.

The Democratic presidential nominee will “discuss how extreme weather events are both caused by & underscore the urgent need to tackle the climate crisis,” spokesman Matt Hill Tweeted. Biden’s comments come shortly after former President Barack Obama and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer called the fires an example of how climate change can impact communities.

“The science is clear, and deadly signs like these are unmistakable — climate change poses an imminent, existential threat to our way of life,” Biden said in a statement Saturday, according to The Hill. “President Trump can try to deny that reality, but the facts are undeniable.”

Wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington, have killed 28 people since August, CNN reported. More than half-a-million people have evacuated Oregon.

More than 4.5 million acres have been burned by wildfires in 12 states since August, according to CNN.

“The lack of active land management is almost 100 percent the cause,” Bob Zybach told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a report Sunday.

University of Washington climate scientist Cliff Mass told TheDCNF in 2018, “Global warming may contribute slightly, but the key factors are mismanaged forests, years of fire suppression, increased population, people living where they should not, invasive flammable species, and the fact that California has always had fire.”

Some researches disagree, saying that climate change is a significant reason for the fires.

“We can focus on the bad fortune of the lightning siege around the San Francisco Bay Area, or the multitude of stupid human tricks that materialized in large wildfires, but the confluence of long-term and short-term environmental factors set the table for the 2020 fire season,” John Abatzoglou, climate professor at the University of California Merced, told CBS Thursday.

President Donald Trump has scheduled a trip to McClellan Park in Sacramento, California, in which local and federal officials will brief the president and discuss how far firefighters have come in containing the wildfires, The Washington Post reported Monday.

“I have approved 37 Stafford Act Declarations, including Fire Management Grants to support their brave work. We are with them all the way!” the president tweeted Friday.

Roughly 75% of damage stemming from California’s wildfires was a result of “the way we manage lands and develop our landscape,” Scott Stephens, a professor of fire science at the University of California, Berkeley, said at a conference in Washington in January, according to E&E.

“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” the president tweeted in September 2018. He suggested at the time that other countries do things like “raking and cleaning things, and they don’t have any problem,” citing how Finland manages forests.

Editor’s note: This piece has been updated to include arguments that climate change, rather than land management, is the driving cause behind wildfires.

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