Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Monday called for urgent action to address the effects of climate change in the wake of historic wildfires and extreme flooding that have ravaged parts of the country in recent weeks.
The former vice president pointed the finger of blame squarely at President Donald Trump, whom he called a “climate arsonist,” and suggested that Americans would not be safe if Trump gets reelected in November.
“If we have four more years of Trump’s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires? How many suburban neighborhoods will have been flooded out? How many suburbs will have been blown away in superstorms?” Biden said in a major speech on climate in his home state of Delaware, responding to Trump’s dog whistle claims that he would “abolish” suburban communities.
“[Trump’s] climate denial may not have caused these fires and record floods and record hurricanes, but if he gets a second term, these hellish events will continue to become more common, more devastating and more deadly,” he added.
“We have to act as a nation,” Biden continued of climate change. “It shouldn’t be so bad that millions of Americans live in the shadow of an orange sky and are left asking, ‘Is doomsday here?’”
Devastating wildfires have burned more than 5 million acres, spewed hazardous smoke into the atmosphere, destroyed scores of homes and left at least 26 people dead in California and Oregon. Elsewhere in the country, the Gulf Coast is bracing for yet another major hurricane, and scientists reported that five tropical cyclones are all taking place simultaneously — only the second time in recorded history.
Trump, who has called climate change a hoax for years, met with California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Monday. The president reiterated upon landing in California that local officials needed to do a better job of managing the state’s forests, citing the records of other forested nations like Finland.
“We have to do that in California,” Trump told reporters in Sacramento.
Meanwhile, Biden said in his speech Monday that Trump was wrong for discounting the effects of climate change in creating hotter and drier conditions in California.
“The West is literally on fire, and he blames the people whose homes and communities are burning,” he said.