Doug LaMalfa, a Donald Trump puppet, represents California’s 1st District, where the raging Dixie Fire has already burned 679 square miles in Plumas County, destroying the town of Greenville, eight of whose residents are counted as missing. He also represents Paradise, Magalia, and Concow, towns wiped out three years ago by the Camp Fire, which killed 86 people. Two of my very good friends managed to escape Paradise by the skin of their teeth with their driving skills. Their new home is still in LaMalfa’s district.

In a video posted on Facebook Wednesday, La Malfa said, “We lost Greenville tonight. And there’s just not words for how us in government haven’t been able to get the job done. We will take up the fight even harder. And more so, we got to win this; we got to stop this. We got to get D.C. to pay attention, we got to get Sacramento to pay attention. Forget the politics, forget the nonsense. We have to stop making this happen by inattention to what is obvious … we gotta do better,” LaMalfa said, noting to those affected that “our hearts are with you.” 

The man’s crocodile tears are as useless to his constituents’ well-being as they are at quenching the flames of that still-burning fire.

“There’s just not words.”

On the contrary, LaMalfa has said plenty. In 2018, he ridiculed people who said climate change was a key factor in the Camp Fire. And back then, just as now, he blames lack of ”proper” forest management for what happened. “Blaming climate change for the fires in the North State is wrong and an insult,” he said. 

Here’s one of the supposedly guilty insulters, a climate scientist:


No words? Here’s LaMalfa in 2012:

“I think there’s a lot of bad science behind what people are calling global warming.”

And in 2014 during a forum after a candidate debate: “The climate of the globe has been fluctuating since God created it.”

Come 2017, he said, “I don’t buy the idea that manmade activity is responsible.”

In 2018, while the Camp Fire was burning people to death, LaMalfa sneered, “I’m not going to quibble here today about whether it’s man, or sunspot activity, or magma causing ice shelves to melt.” Instead, he blames environmentalists. 

Thanks to the disinformation schemes of the Koch Brothers, Exxon, the Heritage Foundation, the Heartland Institute, The Wall Street Journal editorial pages, hundreds of right-wing talk-show hosts, and megatons of dark money, LaMalfa is one of the 139 Republicans STILL in Congress who reject what increasingly worried climate scientists say. We have 1000s of Republicans in various levels of state governments who do the same. 

And—although I get slammed every time I say this—there is a small number of elected Democrats, who, though they say they accept climate science, sure don’t act like it with their don’t-go-too-fast-or-act too-aggressively approach. Realism requires that we adopt moderate policy, they assert.

Nonsense. It’s too late to be “moderate” when it comes to dealing with the climate crisis. Realism is acknowledging that we are in no less of a crisis than if we were in the crosshairs of a 50-mile-in-diameter asteroid.

Taking action now is no guarantee we’ll be able to dodge the worst climate impacts. Failing to take action now guarantees we won’t. The vast majority of Democrats realize that, but the small group of them that doesn’t is capable of blocking or weakening essential climate policy. The Doug LaMalfas are impervious to reason, but we need to press these recalcitrant Democrats to stop dragging their feet. If they truly accept that scientists are right, they should prove it.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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