Trump does not care if wildfires destroy the West – he did not vote. Robert Reich | opinion

TShe is pale outside my window today. It was orange yesterday. The air quality index is over 200. The Environmental Protection Agency defines it as a “health warning” in which “everyone may experience more serious health effects if exposed for 24 hours”. Unfortunately, the index is over 200 for several days.

The west is burning. Wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington are ravaging homes, killing scores of people, sickening many, causing hundreds of thousands to evacuate, the entire city burned to the ground, millions of acres Has consumed the ground, and has thickened the western third of the United States, pungent and dangerous smoke.

Yet the President has said and done almost nothing. A month ago, Trump wanted to protect lives in Oregon and California from “rioters and robbers”. He sent federal forces to the streets of Portland and threatened to send them to Oakland and Los Angeles.

Today, Portland is at risk of burns and Oakland and Los Angeles are under health alert. Trump will visit California on Monday, but has said very little.

One reason: These states voted against him in 2016 and he is still a concern.

He came close to rejecting California’s request for an emergency fund.

“He told us that the people whose houses were burned down stopped paying him money because he was so angry that the people of the state of California did not support him,” said former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff Meals Taylor said.

Another explanation for Trump’s silence is that wildfires are tied to human-caused climate change, which Trump has done everything possible to humanize.

The devastation of extreme weather continues across America. On Wednesday, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration released its latest State of the Climate report, which found that the US had suffered four billion dollar disasters in August. In addition to the wildfire, there were two giant storms and an extraordinary Midwest Derecho.

These are inconvenient facts for a president who has spent his major chairmanship abolishing every major climate and environmental policy he can lay his hands on.

Starting with his unilateral decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, Trump has been the most anti-environment president in history.

He called climate change a “hoax”. They have claimed without any evidence that the windmill causes cancer. They have weakened Obama-era limits on planet-warming carbon dioxide from power plants and cars and trucks. They have withdrawn regulations governing clean air, water and toxic chemicals. They have opened more public land for oil and gas drilling.

They have specifically targeted California, revoking the state’s authority to set car emission standards required by the federal government.

In total, the Trump administration overturned, repealed, or withdrew nearly 70 environmental rules and regulations. More than 30 rollbacks are still ongoing.

Now, seven weeks before the election, other consequences of climate change in the nation have come to the fore either, with Trump defending his record and attacking Joe Biden.

Root of ” [Biden’s] The economic agenda is a hard-left crusade against American energy, ”Trump upset in his Rose Garden speech last month.

not enough. While Biden has formed a focal point of his campaign to combat climate change, proposing to invest $ 2tn in a massive green employment program to build renewable energy infrastructure, his ideas are not radical at all. Huh. The money will be used to improve energy efficiency, build 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, and increase renewable energy from wind, solar and other technologies.

Biden wants to end the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity by 2035, and to bring the US to a net zero emission of greenhouse gases without the latter by 2050. Their goal may be very modest. If what is happening now in the West is no indication, 2050 will be too late.

Nonetheless, Americans have a clear choice. In a few weeks, when they decide Trump is worth another four years, climate change will be on the ballot.

It should not be difficult to make a choice. Like coronaviruses, the severe consequences of climate change – coupled with Trump’s utter malfunction – offer undeniable evidence that he could not care less about the public good.