Biden accuses Trump of being a ‘climate arsonist’

Climate change moved front and centre in the US presidential election on Monday as Donald Trump visited fire-scorched California, and his rival Joe Biden denounced the president as a “climate arsonist”.

As fires continued to engulf the states of Washington, Oregon and California, Mr Trump was briefed on the latest developments by emergency services and California’s governor Gavin Newsom at McClellan Park, just outside Sacramento.

During a roundtable discussion, Mr Trump made no mention of global warming, as Mr Newsom, a Democrat, said climate change was “real” and “is exacerbating” the situation.

However, Mr Trump did intervene at one point to say it “will start getting cooler”, despite experts warning that the planet will continue to become hotter if emissions are not reduced. When California’s secretary of national resources Wade Crowfoot replied: “I wish science agreed with you”, Mr Trump shot back: “I don’t think science knows actually.”

As he arrived in California, Mr Trump emphasised the role that forest management, rather than climate change, played in the fires that have ravaged millions of acres of forests and lands.

“When trees fall down after a short period of time, they become very dry – really like a matchstick, and they can explode,” he said. “Also leaves – when you have dried leaves on the ground, it’s just fuel for the fires.”