President Trump has dismissed the widely held belief that climate change is exacerbating wildfires in California and offered an alternative solution: “raking.” While meeting with California Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom to survey the damage of Butte County’s deadly wildfire on Saturday, Trump appeared to play down any disagreement over the cause of the fires. “I think everybody’s seen the light,” he said, without elaborating on what he meant. While Brown and other California officials have pointed to climate change as a major factor of the so-called Camp Fire, which has so far killed 76 people, Trump made clear that the “light” he has seen was a very different one. “We’ve gotta take care of the floors, you know, the floors of the forest. It’s very important,” he told reporters. “You look at other countries where they do it differently and it’s a whole different story,” he said, citing Finland as an example. “And they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things. And they don’t have any problem. And when it is, it’s a very small problem,” he said. Later, when asked by a reporter if the devastation in Northern California had changed his mind on climate change, he said, “No. No, I have a strong opinion. I want great climate.” Many were quick to question his suggestion that the U.S. could learn from Finland, a country with a very different climate. Veli-Pekka Kivimäki, a Finnish researcher, disputed Trump’s argument on Twitter. “I perhaps wouldn't compare Finland and California climate-wise. And besides, 80% of the country is classified as forest land. We don't exactly manicure all of it,” he said.
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