Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about climate change and wildfires affecting western states, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about climate change and wildfires affecting western states, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Both presidential nominees spoke about the environment as wildfires burn throughout the West Coast. Only Biden has released a plan to fight climate change.

As historic wildfires rage on the West Coast, both Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump spoke about the climate, offering a glimpse into how their respective administrations would–or wouldn’t–tackle our changing climate.

Biden spoke from Delaware, and he didn’t mince words about the threat our country faces.

“Hurricanes don’t swerve to avoid red states and wildfires don’t skip towns that voted a certain way,” Biden said. “The impacts of climate change don’t pick and choose and that’s because it’s not a partisan phenomenon, it’s science.”

The unprecedented wildfires on the West Coast have engulfed much of Washington, Oregon, and California in heavy smoke and mass evacuations. 

Meanwhile, Trump traveled to California, only to continue questioning whether our climate is changing at all.

“It will start getting cooler, just watch,” Trump said. “I don’t think science knows, actually.”

The president was answering a plea from California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who asked Trump to acknowledge the changing climate.

“We feel very strongly the hots are getting hotter, the dries are getting drier. Something has happened to the plumbing of the world and we come from a perspective, humbly, that we assert the science that climate change is real. Please respect the difference of opinion out here with respect to the fundamental issue of climate change,” Newsom said. 

Experts agree that one of the many effects of climate change are longer and more severe wildfire seasons along with a host of other disruptive and dangerous issues like flooding and severe hurricanes. Climate change is also a top issue for many voters this year, as every corner of the country has experienced some of the effects of climate change like forest fires in the West, hurricanes in the South, disrupted growing seasons in the Midwest and flooding in the East. 

“We need a president who respects science, who understands that the damage from climate change is already here unless we take urgent action and will soon be more catastrophic,” Biden said. 

During his time in office, Trump has repeatedly rolled back environmental protections, like in 2018 when he removed an Obama era rule that lifted restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from coal power plants. 

In the midst of the West’s rampant wildfires, Trump claimed that the fires should be attributed to poor forest management at the state level, not climate change. Trump has repeatedly questioned the existence of climate change during his time in office and has noticeably left any plans for dealing with it out of his 2020 campaign platform. 

By comparison, Biden has paid special attention to the issue of climate change. He has pledged to rejoin the Paris Agreement, which Trump withdrew from in 2019 citing too high a cost. Biden has also pledged to invest $400 billion over the next 10 years to research clean energy and increase power generated from clean sources like solar, wind, and nuclear sources. 

Clean jobs are also of major importance to Biden who included in his climate plan 10 million well-paying, clean jobs in the United States. 

“I’ll have American workers building and installing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations alongside our newly engaged infrastructure programs and highways all across the country,” he said of his clean jobs plan. 

He went on to say that the federal government’s fleet of vehicles will transition to clean electric cars that are made by American union workers. 

“This would mean more than a million new jobs in the American auto industry and put us on a path to achieving a carbon pollution free electric sector by 2035,” he said. “This would be the greatest spur to job creation and economic competitiveness in the 21st century not to mention the positive benefits to our health and our environment.”