Trump tweets on wildfires show ignorance on climate, California and politics
© Getty Images

In his first public comments on the wildfires that have been ablaze in California for weeks, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE, in typical fashion, took to Twitter to send a series of nonsensical tweets that attacked California, and showed his ignorance and insensitivity.

 

He tweeted: “California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amounts of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire from spreading!”

ADVERTISEMENT

California has some of the strongest environmental laws in the country, but the impact of extreme drought conditions caused by climate change are intensifying wildfires. Contrary to his tweets, the Trump administration’s anti-environment policies, not California’s pro-environment reforms, will make matters worse and hurt our planet for generations to come.

I served 10 years on the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the primary state agency responsible for protecting public health from the harmful effects of air pollution. I was appointed by three governors – one Democrat and two Republicans.

I am proud of the work CARB has done, which is centered around science and evidence-based research. California leads the nation and world in fighting air pollution by setting its own, tougher standards on greenhouse gas emissions, as allowed under the Clean Air Act, a bipartisan compromise signed into law by Republican President Richard Nixon in 1970 and expanded in 1990 under George H. W. Bush. In 2012, President Obama brought national standards in line with those set by CARB, creating the One National Program. The genius and beauty of the Clean Air Act is that it has been a bipartisan success.

This past week, Trump announced a move to roll back national fuel economy standards and undermine California’s innovative efforts to address our unique air pollution problems. In response, I led a coalition of 60 Democratic members in introducing a resolution condemning the move, signaling to the administration that it will be met with a unified front of opposition should it choose to go down this path.

Without standards to curb current emissions levels or the other proactive work California is doing, global temperatures could rise by over four degrees in the coming decades. This change in temperature will certainly lead to more natural disasters including an increased risk of wildfires.

Natural disasters, including three hurricanes, wildfires, hail, flooding, tornadoes, and drought, cost the federal government $306 billion last year. The previous record in one year was $215 billion. There were 15 disasters last year that had damage that exceeded a billion dollars each. One hurricane took more than 1,000 lives with fires taking dozens and extreme heat adding to the toll. Today, 17 fires rage across California, including the largest in its history.

While Donald Trump is not going to stop playing with fire, it is incumbent on lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to push back on his grandstanding. It took Republicans and Democrats to pass clean air legislation. And, it is going to take all of us working together to anticipate and prevent natural disasters that will occur without reducing the effects of climate change. Our lives and our planet depend on it.

Congressman Mark DeSaulnierMark James DeSaulnierZinke on California fires: 'This is not a debate about climate change' Zinke takes forestry fight to fire-ravaged California Trump tweets on wildfires show ignorance on climate, California and politics MORE represents California’s 11th  District in the U.S House of Representatives and is a member of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition.