Aug 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Newsom addresses DNC from site of California wildfires: "Climate change is real"

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) used his Democratic National Convention address on Thursday to highlight the real-world effects of climate change, speaking just a mile from the site of one of the over 370 wildfires that are currently ravaging his state.

What he's saying: "Well, I confess this is not where I expected to be speaking here tonight," said Newsom, who was originally set to speak at the DNC but remained in California to monitor the fires. "We are just coming off a record heat wave that led to 130 degree temperatures — the highest temperature ever recorded in California."

  • "The hots are getting hotter, the drys are getting drier. Climate change is real. If you are in denial about climate change, come to California. 11,000 dry lightning strikes over a 72-hour period, leading to this unprecedented challenge with these wildfires."
  • "This is an extraordinary moment in our history. Mother Nature has now joined this conversation around climate change. And so we need to advance that conversation anew."

The big picture: Newsom tore into President Trump, who does not believe in man-made climate change, for claiming that the wildfires are the result of the state not cleaning its "floors" — and for suggesting that the federal government should withhold relief funds to California.

  • "You gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests — there are many, many years of leaves and broken trees and they’re like, like, so flammable, you touch them and it goes up," Trump told reporters Thursday.

The bottom line: "There is so much at stake in this election. And I just want to close by reminding each and every one of you, the future's not just something to experience — it's something to manifest," Newsom concluded. "It's inside of us, not just in front of us. It's our decision, not our conditions, that will determine our fate and future.

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