Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden slammed President Donald Trump as a “climate arsonist,” as deadly fires in California and Oregon continue to rage across vast swaths of land.
“We need a president who respects science, who understands that the damage from climate change is already here, and unless we take urgent action it will soon be more catastrophic,” Biden said in a speech from his home state of Delaware
Trump, who has downplayed the role of man-made climate change and in general has questioned whether the phenomenon is real, is visiting California. He has also derided environmental activists as alarmists.
Biden – who did not take questions from reporters – pledged to rejoin the Paris climate accord if he is elected in November and to focus on moving the country to sustainable sources of energy, which will create new jobs.
West Coast cities are seeing ash-filled skies with terrible air quality, at times casting an ominous orange colour across the horizon.
Trump has focused on forest management and accused local elected officials of neglecting to clear land appropriately.
Scientists warn that more far-reaching efforts to deal with climate change is needed over the long term to prevent more devastating fires.
“Talk to a firefighter, if you think that climate change isn’t real.” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, a Democrat, said on Sunday.