President Donald Trump criticized Sunday Governor Gavin Newsom in California for his poor management of the recent fires in California, particularly poor forest management that blames Trump for the rapid spread of the fires.
The Governor of California, @GavinNewsom, has done a terrible job of forest management. I told him from the first day we met that he must “clean” his forest floors regardless of what his bosses, the environmentalists, DEMAND of him. Must also do burns and cut fire stoppers…..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2019
..Every year, as the fire’s 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. You don’t see close to the level of burn in other states…But our teams are working well together in…..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2019
Trump has previously criticized poor forest management in California. A year ago, the president closed California’s forest management policy – which limits logging, allowing dry fuel to accumulate – during the campfire, the deadliest fire in state history.
Although the president’s timing was controversial – he tweeted his criticism while front-line firefighters were fighting the fire – others agreed with his assessment.
Environmentalists, on the other hand, have often been in a hurry to blame climate change, even though there is little evidence to associate recent fires with the expected gradual rise in global surface temperature. For example, former California governor, Jerry Brown, told Congress last week that Trump and the Republicans had “blood on [their] souls” because they did not do enough to stop climate change. He also made his remarks while the fires were still going on in the state.
Some experts believe that cutting down vegetation will not be enough to stop fast-moving fires, and that a bigger problem is the spread of development to wooded areas.
Newsom and Trump have previously fought over forest management – with Trump threatening to withhold federal money earlier this year for emergencies if California does not change its policy.
What is different this time is that Newsom also receives criticism from the left. At the recent fire outbreak, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) – which supplies power to much of Northern California – imposed power cuts in large parts of the state for fear that high winds could damage power lines and cause forest fires.
Newsom has angrily condemned the company, but critics are upset that he did not have an emergency plan to address the foreseeable possibility that now bankrupt PG&E would use blackouts to limit his insurance obligations.
In his tweets, Trump also referred to Newsom’s water policy, which aims to limit the amounts allocated to rural communities and farms and to increase the flow rates in rivers that drain into the Pacific, apparently to protect the delta melt and other endangered species.
You don’t believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation. https://t.co/PSt8N39Er5— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) November 3, 2019
As noted above, there is no scientific link between the current fires and climate change. Scientists have said that a warmer California may be more susceptible to fire in the future, but recent fires are partly a product of conditions that already exist in California, and wind patterns that have little to do with climate change. A scientist called Jerry Brown’s effort to link forest fires to climate change an example of “noble cause of corruption” – that is, incorrect scientific claims in the service of a “noble” cause that most scientists actually support politically.