Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made one of her most impassioned speeches yet on climate change in a lengthy campaign appearance with former Vice President Al Gore in Miami on Tuesday.
While Clinton has discussed the topic before, most notably in a solar plan unveiled last summer, Clinton has more commonly used the climate change topic to briefly note the strong differences between herself and Republican candidate Donald Trump.
Trump has said he thinks climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese (although he backtracked from that position during the first debate by denying he ever said it). More recently he’s said that “he’s not a big believer in climate change.”
Clinton, on the other hand, says the science is clear and that she plans to make fighting climate change, and creating solar and wind jobs, a national priority—echoing the Obama administration.
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Set against the backdrop of Hurricane Matthew that swept through the state days before, Clinton said that voters must elect leaders “up and down the ballot, of every level of government” that will take climate change seriously.
“Please, we can not keep sending climate deniers and defeatists to Congress and state houses and certainly not to the White House,” Clinton said. “Climate change needs to be a voting issue.”
Clinton used the opportunity to restate her solar and clean energy plan, which calls for installing 500 million solar panels by the end of her first term as well as produce enough clean electricity within the next decade to power every American home. She also wants to cut the country’s oil consumption by a third.
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Achieving these goals, she says, will create millions of clean energy jobs. “The clean energy superpower of the 21st Century could be China, Germany, or us, and I want it to be us,” she said.
Following Clinton’s talk, Gore took the stage to outline the disturbing effects of climate change that are already occurring like more powerful storms, higher sea levels, more intense droughts, and more wild fires. Both Clinton and Gore endorsed Florida Democratic candidate for Senate, Patrick Murphy.
Trump’s views on climate change and energy are a sharp contrast to Clinton’s. At a speech before a shale conference earlier this year, Trump vowed to remove regulations for fighting climate change like Obama’s controversial Clean Power Plan, which pushes power companies to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Trump also said he’d tear up the Paris Climate Agreement, which is an agreement between almost every country of the world to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Trump has characterized the Obama administration as putting U.S. energy industries under siege, and has said he’ll bring back coal jobs to states like West Virginia. Gore noted during his speech on Tuesday that some 70% of the new electricity production capacity installed in the U.S. is from wind and solar, while there has been almost no new electricity production from coal.