After deadly wildfires swept the western United States, President Donald Trump has blamed lax forestry and declared that "it'll start getting cooler, you just watch”. On September 14, Trump said “I don’t think science knows” as he refused to believe the role of climate change in the spread of wildfires.
US Presidential candidate Joe Biden has branded Trump a "climate arsonist" for refusing to acknowledge global warming`s role in the deadly. Biden said, "If we have four more years of Trump`s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned by wildfires? How... more...
many suburban neighbourhoods will have been flooded out?"
Trump has referred to climate change as a "hoax," and in 2017 pulled the United States out of the Paris accord that laid out an international approach to global warming. Biden, the former vice president, has included climate change on his list of major crises facing the United States.
California Governor Gavin Newsom acknowledged more needs to be done to better manage forests to reduce fire risks, while more than a century of aggressive fire suppression has allowed fuels to build up. But he countered that global warming was nevertheless a driving factor in newly extreme wildfire behaviour, and he reminded Trump that 57% of forest land in California is under federal ownership.
“We come from a perspective, humbly, where we submit the science is in and observed evidence is self-evident: that climate change is real, and that is exacerbating this,” the Democratic governor said during a meeting with the president. Trump, who has authorized federal disaster aid for both California and Oregon, questioned that science.
Dozens of conflagrations have raged with unprecedented scope across some 4.5 million acres (1.8 million hectares) in Oregon, California and Washington state since August, laying waste to several small towns, destroying thousands of homes and killing at least 36 people. The fires also have filled the region`s air with harmful levels of smoke and soot, bathing skies in eerie tones of orange and sepia while adding to a public health crisis already posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Ten deaths have been confirmed during the past week in Oregon, the latest flashpoint in a larger summer outbreak of fires accompanied by catastrophic lightning storms, record-breaking heatwaves and bouts of extreme winds. Those incendiary conditions gave way over the weekend to cooler, moister weather and calmer winds, enabling weary firefighters to gain ground in efforts to outflank blazes that had burned largely unchecked last week.
Fire managers cautioned that the battle was hardly over. Thunderstorms forecast for later in the week could bring much-needed rain but also more lightning. Officials also braced for a rise in the death toll. As disaster teams scoured the ruins of dwellings engulfed by flames amid chaotic evacuations last week, Oregon`s emergency management authorities said they had yet to account for 22 people reported missing in the fires.
At least 25 people have perished in California wildfires since mid-August, and one fatality has been confirmed in Washington state. More than 6,200 homes and other structures have been lost, according to figures from all three states.
FIRES FOCUS CAMPAIGN ON CLIMATE
Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee slammed by Republicans for not visiting disaster areas, spoke from his home state of Delaware on the threat of increasingly frequent weather extremes that scientists have pointed to as evidence that climate change is supercharging the fires.
Trump, who trails Biden in national polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election, met with firefighters and officials in California after Democrats blasted the Republican president for remaining mostly silent on the wildfires. "I think this is more of a management situation," Trump answered when asked by a reporter if climate change was a factor behind the fires. Without mentioning large wildfires that have raged elsewhere around the world in recent years - from southern Europe to Australia and Siberia - Trump asserted that other countries "don`t have this problem."
"They have more explosive trees, meaning they catch fire much easier," he said. "But they don`t have problems like this." The president and his administration have long sought to pin the blame for large wildfires on state officials, saying fuel-choked forests and scrub need to be thinned, more firebreaks should be cut and flammable debris cleared from forest floors.
Trump said improved forest management was something that could be tackled quickly, whereas climate change would take more time and require international cooperation that he said was lacking. "When you get into climate change, well is India going to change its ways? And is China going to change its ways? And Russia? Is Russia going to change its ways?" he said after landing in McLellan Park, California.
Tens of thousands of displaced residents across the Pacific Northwest continued to adjust to life as evacuees. Around the devastated southwestern Oregon towns of Phoenix and Talent, some people set up food stations in parking lots. Others defied evacuation orders to guard their own homes against looters.
Reinforcing local law enforcement resources strained by the disaster, Oregon is deploying as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to fire-stricken communities. Two men were arrested in Oregon, one on Friday and another on Monday, on arson charges stemming from a handful of relatively small fires. But police have cautioned against fake social media reports blaming wildfires on left-wing anti-fascists or right-wing Proud Boy activists.
Trains services to and from Odisha were adversely affected following the rail-roko agitation by local tribals at various places of Nekurseni in Medinapore in neighbouring West Bengal today. Demanding fulfilment of their nine-point charter of demands, including the propagation and promotion of Alchik script of Santhali language in various schools and colleges of the town, members of Bharat Jakat Majhi Pragana Mahal (BJMPM), the largest outfit of tribals had carried out the protests. The agitating tribals sat on the Nekursuni railway tracks to mark their protest. Several... more...
trains including Guwahati-Secunderabad Express were stranded at Jaleswar railway station. Similarly, Bagha Jatin Express was halted at Basta station and Kharagpur Local Train was detained Loknathpur following the agitation, reports said. This caused numerous problems for the passengers travelling in these trains. Similarly, movement of vehicular traffic was also disrupted between Balasore and Jaleswar as the protesters also staged demonstration on National Highway-60 as well.
The Indian Railways has decided to revamp its antiquated signalling system in phases to enhance safety and increase average speed of trains. The national transporter plans to introduce the new European Train Control System-2 (ETCS2) which will allow it to increase train speeds significantly and, as a result, run more trains with the same infrastructure, officials said. The new technology allows trains to run in shorter blocks, which means trains can run on the same track with a minimum distance of just 500 metres between them. The first such signalling system will be installed on the highly congested Delhi-Mughalsarai section. Indian Railways expects companies such as Bombardier and Alstom to bid for the project, according to officials. “At... more...
the recent Rail Board meeting, the 830-km Delhi-Mughalsarai section was identified for ETCS2 signalling. This will be carried out through a joint venture with Power Grid Corporation for signalling and with Railtel for communication. Since the Delhi-Mughalsarai route has very high traffic density, modern signalling will help in decongestion,” said a railways ministry official, who did not wish to be identified. “Modern signalling will help reduce congestion in rail network and increase line capacity by 40-50%,” he said. The ability to run more trains on tracks will also help the railways improve its chequered record in terms of punctuality. “It will eliminate train delays due to automated signalling and real-time information of train movements being made available, eliminating the need for manual data logging,” the official said. Besides, the move will enhance safety on tracks. In 2017-18, 73 accidents had taken place on railway tracks. “Signalling will potentially eliminate human induced rail accidents to zero,” the official said. In a recent review meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the railways was told to go for a signalling technology which was financially viable and indigenous. The ministry official said that once the ETCS2 technology is tried on the Delhi-Mughalsarai section, foreign companies will be invited to set up the signalling equipment manufacturing plants in India. “The European technology will be price competitive and in later stages we also plan to manufacture it locally under ‘Make in India’,” he said.
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