By JOHN VERHOVEK, ABC News
(WILMINGTON, Del.) — As the devastation from the wildfires raging across the western United States continues into its second week, former Vice President Joe Biden will deliver a speech on Monday in Wilmington, Delaware, centered around his plans to combat the growing threat of climate change and its contributions to worsening instances of extreme weather around the globe.
By Monday morning, more than 3.3 million acres have been burned in the Golden State this year — more than 27 times more than in 2019, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Firefighters in the state have not seen anything like this season in more than a century, when the Great Fire of 1910 blazed through more than 3 million acres.
The wildfires also claimed the lives of 27 people last week, and officials remain concerned that this week’s weather conditions will not bring a respite to the region.
Biden’s speech, which will also emphasize the role that investigating in green energy jobs can play in combatting climate change, comes as President Donald Trump is set to visit California on Monday to receive a briefing on the wildfires from local officials near the city of Sacramento.
In a statement released Saturday, Biden expressed his support for those suffering from the effects of the fires, as well as the firefighters and first responders on the front lines of the emergency, while also blasting Trump for “deny[ing] … reality” on climate change’s role in the ongoing crisis.
“The science is clear, and deadly signs like these are unmistakable — climate change poses an imminent, existential threat to our way of life. President Trump can try to deny that reality, but the facts are undeniable. We absolutely must act now to avoid a future defined by an unending barrage of tragedies like the one American families are enduring across the West today,” Biden wrote.
Biden and Trump have offered vastly different visions when it comes to tackling the issue of climate change.
The former vice president has proposed a sweeping proposal that calls for the United States to achieve a carbon-free power sector by 2035 and make a $2 trillion investment over his first four years in office in green energy and infrastructure to combat the threat of climate change.
Throughout his first term in office, Trump has rolled back a slate of Obama-era environmental regulations, including ones that placed emissions-standards on American-made cars and the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which would have limited carbon emissions from coal and gas-fired power plants, and withdrew the United States from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement.
Despite those rollbacks, Trump declared himself “a great environmentalist,” during a speech in Florida last week, where he announced the extension of a 10-year moratorium on oil and gas drilling off the state’s coast as well as the Georgia and South Carolina coasts.
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