Former California Governor Jerry Brown told Congress on Tuesday that President Donald Trump and the Republican Party were responsible for the ongoing California fires because of their opposition to drastic climate change policies.
“California’s burning while the deniers make a joke out of the standards that protect us all,” Brown told the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday, as quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle. “The blood is on your soul here and I hope you wake up. Because this is not politics, this is life, this is morality. … This is real.”
Brown was testifying against efforts by the Trump administration to rescind California’s waiver that previously allowed it to set its own emissions standards for vehicles — effectively giving the state control of the entire auto industry. The administration argues that California’s policy is actually worse for the environment because higher standards make new cars — which are more energy-efficient than old cars — more difficult for consumers to buy.
The ongoing California wildfires have a variety of causes. The immediate cause of the Getty Fire in Los Angeles, for example, appears to be a tree branch that was blown by high winds into power lines, according to the Los Angeles Times. Critics fault California and its utility companies for spending money on complying with “green” initiatives rather than on burying power lines. Others also cite homeless camps, where past fires have started, and poor forestry management policies that have barred the clearing of brush that can provide fuel for wildfires.
But Brown and other Democrats have identified climate change as the cuplrit, even though there is no scientific evidence to support that claim. In 2015 and in 2017, Brown also blamed climate change for wildfires in California, though scientists disagreed, calling Brown’s arguments an example of “noble-cause corruption.”
California Democrats are facing new criticism at home, as utility companies have begun cutting power to electricity customers in peak fire conditions — a new practice for which the state government seems to have been unprepared.
Author: Joel B. Pollak