Monday's science stories

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden calls Trump a "climate arsonist," warns of wildfire threat to suburbs

Joe Biden on Monday called President Trump a "climate arsonist" and warned that another four years of Trump's policies would expose suburbs to more deadly wildfires.

Why it matters: Biden's speech addressing the record-setting wildfires in the West sought to cast Trump — who rejects consensus climate science — as a threat to the safety and livelihoods of people nationwide, rather than just an environmental issue.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Sep 14, 2020 - Science

Scientists find possible sign of life on Venus

Venus as seen from orbit. Photo: JAXA /ISAS/Akatsuki Project Team

Traces of a gas in Venus' clouds could indicate some form of life may exist there, according to a study published today.

Why it matters: Scientists have been musing about the possibility that life exists in Venus' temperate clouds for decades. If confirmed as a sign of life, the finding would open up a new era of science.

Sep 13, 2020 - Science

Oregon governor: Wildfires are result of climate change and forest mismanagement

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) told CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday that the massive fires devastating the West Coast are a result of "decades of mismanagement of our forests in this country" as well as "the failure to tackle climate change."

Why it matters: President Trump has also insisted that the fires were "about forest management," but he's dismissed climate change. There's been a chorus of voices in the West Coast calling Trump out for his climate change policies or lack of.

Sep 13, 2020 - Science

California's "climate apocalypse"

"California is being pushed to extremes," the L.A. Times reports in today's lead story. "And the record heat, fires and pollution all have one thing in common: They were made worse by climate change."

Why it matters: "Their convergence is perhaps the strongest signal yet that the calamity climate scientists have warned of for years isn’t far off in the future; it is here today and can no longer be ignored."

Sep 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

LA mayor: "Talk to a firefighter if you think that climate change isn't real"

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.

Updated Sep 13, 2020 - Energy & Environment

West Coast fires kill at least 31 as Oregon braces for "mass fatality event"

An aerial view of a police patrol car driving by apartment homes destroyed by wildfire on Sept. 12. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

Deadly wildfires sweeping the West have displaced tens of thousands of people, per AP, as officials in Oregon warn of a "mass fatality event."

Of note: 10 deaths have been confirmed in Oregon, 20 in California, and one in Washington state this fire season. Most fatalities have occurred this past week. The death tolls are expected to rise sharply in coming days.