Sep 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Newsom to Trump at wildfire event: "Climate change is real"

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) pointedly told President Trump on Monday afternoon that climate change is "exacerbating" the wildfires currently ravaging the West Coast.

Why it matters: Trump has repeatedly insisted that the fires were "about forest management," while dismissing climate change. Newsom acknowledged to Trump that "we have not done justice on our forest management," but emphasized that climate change was making everything much worse. A number of politicians have criticized Trump and his administration for not properly addressing climate change.

  • Trump has questioned the existence of human-caused climate change and has started the process of formally withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement.

What Newsom's saying: "We obviously feel very strongly that the hots are getting hotter, the dries are getting dryer. When we're having heat domes, the likes of which we've never seen in our history, the hottest August ever in the history of this state, the ferocity of these fires, the drought five-plus years, losing 163 million trees to that drought, something's happened to the plumbing of the world."

  • "And we come from a perspective, humbly, where we submit the science and observed evidence is self-evident that climate change is real and that is exacerbating this."
  • "There's no question when you look past this decade and looking past almost the thousand-plus years that we have not done justice on our forest management. I don't think anyone disputes that."

Trump later said, "It'll start getting cooler. You just watch."

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Amy Harder: Trump saying it will get cooler is similar to when he has said the coronavirus would disappear. In both cases, the opposite has and will happen. COVID-19 has gotten worse, and Earth's aggregate temperature has already gone up and will continue to go up in the coming decades.

Between the lines: The weather, however, will get colder, as we approach fall and winter, which Trump may seize on to say he was right, even though on the scale that makes a difference with climate change — decades and centuries — he is still wrong.

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