Republican presidential contender Carly Fiorina acknowledges that climate change is real and caused by human activity, but otherwise refuses to be reasonable on just about every other question of who's responsible and what we should do about it. So naturally, she's not willing to concede the growing evidence that climate change played a significant role in worsening California's historic drought.
Instead, she's shifting the focus to the culprit she believes is really to blame: "liberals."
Appearing on Meet the Press Sunday, Fiorina doubled down on her theory that left-leaning politicians caused the drought by failing to properly regulate California's water supply. When prompted by host Chuck Todd to acknowledge the role of climate change in the drought, she quickly deflected, responding: "You know what else has made it worse? Politicians. Liberal politicians who stood up for forty years, as the population of California doubled, and said you cannot build a new reservoir, and you cannot build a water conveyance system."
"So for forty years, 70 percent of the rainfall has washed out to sea," she continued. "That's pretty dumb when you know you're going to have droughts every single year. Or every three years, let's say."
Todd was ready, and had already gotten California Gov. Jerry Brown to respond to Fiorina's criticism. "I've never heard of such utter ignorance," Brown said in a pre-recorded interview. "Building a dam won't do a damn thing about fires or climate change or the absence of moisture in ground and vegetation of California."
"I think these people, if they want to run for president, had better do eighth grade science before they make any more utterances."
Fiorina insisted that she's not denying the fact that California is experiencing a drought, but that politicians made the water shortage "immeasurably worse." Experts, unfortunately, completely disagree with her assessment. Here's Climate Progress on why building more reservoirs wouldn't have solved the state's current woes:
“Thinking that building more reservoirs will get you out of a drought is like assuming that opening more checking accounts when you’ve lost your income will help you pay your bills,” [Andrew Fahlund, deputy director of the California Water Foundation] told ThinkProgress.
According to Fahlund, only 50 percent of water in California flows to the coast. Fahlund said that according to the Bureau of Reclamation’s own numbers, building the reservoirs that Fiorina is referring to would have only resulted in a net increase of one percent to the state’s water supplies.
...Jay Famiglietti, the senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, also invoked harsh terms in response to Fiorina’s statements.“There is zero truth to any argument that attempts to characterize the current California drought as man-made,” he told ThinkProgress via email. “All you need to do is look at up the mountains and realize that there is no snow, look at the reservoirs and see that they are nearly empty, and look at last January to see that it was the driest on record. A lack of infrastructure is not the issue when there is nothing to put in it.”
You can watch the entire exchange between Fiorina, Todd and Brown here.