Newsom addresses climate change while touring North Complex fire damage


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) — As some of the state’s largest wildfires in modern history burn simultaneously, state leaders are taking immediate action in response.

Fires are scorching 3.1 million acres and counting in California.

The governor is now directing state agencies to speed up some environmental goals.

“This is a climate damn emergency,” Newsom said. “This is real.”

Governor Gavin Newsom going off after touring wildfire destruction in Butte County.

As five of the state’s largest wildfires burn, Newsom Friday ordered CalEPA and natural resources agency to figure out how to move up mandated timelines to increase green energy use and decrease carbon emissions.

California originally aimed to be carbon free by 2045, which he says it’s not soon enough.

“We’re seeing impacts today that we thought would materialize in mid-century,” Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot said.

On the frontlines, more than 14,000 California firefighters battle the blazes.

Other states are coming in to try to contain the historic fires with West Coast crews stretched thin.

Newsom Friday signed a new law giving inmate hand crews a path to becoming professional firefighters once they’re released from prison. This goes into effect in January.

“We’ll give those prisoners hope of actually getting a job in the profession they’ve been trained,” Newsom said.

As hazardous air quality chokes the state with millions of acres charred, Newsom not mincing his words about the Trump administration’s attempts to push back on California’s environmental goals.

The state has sued the administration 100 times, the majority of those lawsuits are environment-related.

“They’re leading the charge of keeping you protected and healthy and safe but they’re in denial about climate change,” Newsom said. “They’re not truly in the position to be the kind of leaders that we need.”

Despite their ideological differences, the governor says he’s not worried about the White House holding up emergency dollars for these disasters.

He says he spoke with President Trump for a half hour who seemed committed to helping.

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