US President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden presented a different pathway to address the issue of climate change, amidst the devastating wildfires that have engulfed parts of California.
Travelling to the region, Trump asserted on Monday he does not think that science knows actually. Biden accused the president in a policy address in Delaware of being a climate arsonist.
"Well, I don't think science knows actually," Trump told California Natural Resources Agency, Secretary Wade Crowfoot, during a briefing with State Gavin Newsom and other officials to get an update on the efforts to combat the devastating wildfires.
Biden slammed Trump on his policy on climate change. "If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if we have more of America ablaze?" Biden, 77, said as he hammered Trump for allegedly ignoring science.
"If you give a climate denier four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised when more of America is underwater? We need a president who respects science, who understands that the damage from climate change is already here. Unless we take urgent action, it will soon be more catastrophic," he said.
"The president recognizes, understands, and cares that Americans are dying, which makes president Trump's climate denialism, his disdain for science and facts all the more unconscionable. Once again, he fails the most basic duty to a nation. He fails to protect us from the pandemic, from an economic freefall, from racial unrest, from the ravages of climate change. It's clear that we are not safe in Donald Trump's America," Biden said.
This is Trump's America, he said. "He's in charge. What he doesn't get is that even in a crisis, there's nothing beyond the capacity of the American people when we stand up and act together. And while so many are hurting right now, I want you to know that if you give me the honour of serving as your president, we can and we will meet this moment with urgency and purpose," he said.
"You know, when Donald Trump thinks about climate change, he thinks hoax. When I think about it, I think jobs. Good paying unions jobs that put Americans to work building a stronger, more climate-resilient nation, a nation modernized. We have modernized water and transportation systems, and energy infrastructure to withstand the impact of extreme weather and changing climate," Biden said.
On the other hand, Trump, 74, blamed poor forest management for the fires. "With regard to the forest, when trees fall down after a short period of time, about 18 months, they become very dry. They become really like a matchstick, and they get up. There's no more water pouring through and they become very, they just explode. They can explode," he said.
"Also, leaves. When you have years of dried leaves on the ground, it just sets it up. It's really fuel for a fire. So they have to do something about it. They also have to do cuts. I mean, people don't like to do cuts, but they have to do cuts in between. If you do have a fire and it gets away, you'll have a 50 yard cut in between so it won't be able to catch to the other side. They don't do that," he said.
Trump said other countries do that.
"If you go to other countries, you go to Austria, you go to Finland, you go to many different countries and they don't have--I was talking to a head of a major country and he said we are a forest nation. We consider ourselves a forest nation. This was in Europe," he said.
"I said that's a beautiful term. He said we have trees there are far more explosive. He meant explosive in terms of fire. But we have trees that are far more explosive than they have in California and we don't have any problem because we manage our forests. So we have to do that in California too. So I'll go do this and will see you in a little while," Trump said.