Wildfires rip through hot, parched California

Warning: Hot and dry conditions will keep fire risk high throughout the week. © Getty

Are climate deniers partly to blame? California’s governor has said that Donald Trump, who doesn’t believe in the climate crisis, is not entitled to talk about the fires’ causes.

“The seas are rising, diseases are spreading, fires are burning, hundreds of thousands of people are leaving their homes,” said Jerry Brown, former governor of California, at an urgent hearing in Washington last week. “California is burning while the deniers fight the standards that can help us all.”

Since late October, walls of flame have torn across the Golden State, burning up almost 100,000 acres of parched land.

The deadliest, largest and most destructive wildfires in the state’s history have all happened in the last two years and the climate crisis is to blame, according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Summer temperatures in California have risen by 2.5F in the last decade.

On Sunday, the US President took to Twitter to accuse California governor Gavin Newsom of doing a “terrible job of forest management”, and threatened to cut aid to the state.

Newsom did not have time for the president’s insults.

“You don’t believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation,” he replied.

California is now a battlefield in the climate crisis debate. Is Trump’s style of climate denial partly to blame for the destruction?

Fire and brimstone

No, business leaders and politicians in other countries pay lip service to the climate fight — but continue to burn fossil fuels. Whatever you think of Trump, it’s hysterical to blame him and his small, vocal band of climate deniers for a crisis caused by our entire species.

But the science is unequivocal: the climate crisis is making the fires worse. By hindering efforts to tackle climate change, Trump and deniers like him must take some responsibility for the awful consequences.

You Decide

  1. Is Donald Trump partly to blame for the wildfires?

Activities

  1. Make a list of five quotes from Donald Trump that you think sum up his views on the climate crisis.

Some People Say...

“I believe in clean air. Immaculate air. But I don’t believe in climate change.”

US President Donald Trump

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Since the early 1970s, the area burned by wildfires in California annually has increased fivefold. In the last few weeks, nearly 100,000 acres of land has been destroyed by the fires.
What do we not know?
How much we can still limit the damage of the climate crisis. Scientists warn that greenhouse gas emissions are approaching an irreversible tipping point.

Word Watch

Deniers
People who do not believe that humanity is causing global heating are known as “climate deniers”.
Golden State
California’s official state nickname since 1968. California was famed as a gold-mining hot spot.
Parched
Starved of water.
2.5F
Temperatures in the USA are measures in degrees Fahrenheit, while the UK uses degrees Celsius.
Twitter
Trump wrote: “Every year, as the fire’s (sic) rage & California burns, it is the same thing — and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help. No more. Get your act together Governor”.

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