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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Sunday rebuked President Trump over his claims that the California wildfires are simply a result of poor forest management, telling CNN's "State of the Union": "This is climate change, and this is an administration that's put its head in the sand."

Why it matters: There's a scientific consensus that climate change and the hotter and drier conditions it brings are among the forces that increase fire risks and severity. President Trump has questioned the existence of human-caused climate change and has started the process of withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement.

What he's saying: "I listen to fire professionals, not the president of the United States or politicians when it comes to what actually causes these fires," Garcetti said. "It's been very clear that years of drought, as we're seeing, whether it's too much water and too much rain in parts of our country right now, or too little. This is climate change."

  • "Talk to a firefighter if you think that climate change isn't real. And it seems like this administration are the last vestiges of the Flat Earth Society of this generation," he continued.
  • "We need real action. We need to actually reduce the carbon emissions that we have. And we need to make sure we can manage that water. And this is not about just forest management or raking. Anybody who lives here in California is insulted by that, quite frankly. And he keeps perpetrating this lie."

The big picture: Trump plans to visit California on Monday after facing criticism for weeks of silence about the devastating West Coast wildfires, which have razed record amounts of land and forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Dec 19, 2020 - Energy & Environment

"The Ministry for the Future": How to solve the climate crisis

Photo: Hachette Book Group

A recent novel illustrates the likely consequences of climate change in the decades to come, and offers hope that better technology and politics might help us save the future.

Why it matters: Perhaps no subject as important as climate change has also proven so difficult to effectively and accurately dramatize. "The Ministry for the Future" is the one novel I've read that captures the consequences of warming while offering a realistic blueprint for how we can stop it.

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Dec 18, 2020 - Energy & Environment

How to judge America’s climate-change responsibility

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Historically, America has emitted the most greenhouse gases of any country in the world. But over the next 80 years, the U.S. may account for as little as 5% of such emissions.

Why it matters: Installing technologies to address climate change will, therefore, be most critical in places other than America where emissions’ growth is expected to be higher, according to physicist Varun Sivaram.

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.