USA — As wildfires continue to rage in the western U.S., the flames fanned by incessant drought conditions and soaring temperatures, President Barack Obama and his political allies have seized upon the threat as an opportunity to discuss climate change.
Increasingly, the White House has been emphasizing the issue of climate change, and searching for ways to shift public perception of the problem — away from the idea of climate change as future threat and toward an understanding of climate change as a problem of the present, one that requires decisive action.
That’s why the White House is trying to connect the issue of wildfires, a growing problem in the American West, to the larger issue and political narrative of man-made climate change.
White House adviser John Podesta sent out an email Tuesday morning to officials in Washington. “In the western United States, changes in our climate are fueling wildfire seasons that are longer and more intense, putting people, communities, and businesses at risk,” the email read.
Podesta shared the email with BuzzFeed before it went out.
“As we’re seeing right now, wildfires unquestionably have devastating impacts on the lives of many Americans,” Podesta wrote.
The emboldened messaging strategy has been bolstered by President Obama’s Science Adviser, Dr. John Holdren. In a new video released by the White House today, Holden points out that “no single wildfire can be said to have been caused by climate change,” but that as the planet heats up and weather becomes more erratic — longer droughts, fiercer lightening storms — wildfires are becoming more intense, frequent and hard to fight.
Earlier this week, a study was released suggesting the soot from wildfires actually exacerbates manmade climate change — meaning wildfires are both encouraged by and encouraging climate change.