Clinton, Gore Highlight Climate Change as Catalyst for Voters

By Renee Schoof and Stephen Lee

Oct. 11 — Climate change is one of the most important issues in the election, and voters should elect officials who want to do something about it, Hillary Clinton said at a rally in Miami on Oct. 11.

“We cannot risk putting a climate denier in the White House at all,” Clinton told a crowd at Miami Dade College.

“We need a president who believes in science and has a plan to lead America in facing this threat and creating good jobs and, yes, saving our planet,” the Democratic nominee said.

The speech in the battleground state of Florida was one of the Democratic nominee’s strongest statements on climate change. It came one day before the deadline for Florida residents to register to vote.

Al Gore, the vice president during former President Bill Clinton’s administration, and a longtime advocate of action on climate change, appeared with her at the rally. Gore said Clinton would make “solving the climate crisis a top national priority,” while Trump, “based on the ideas he has presented, would take us toward a climate catastrophe.”

“Your vote really, really, really counts, a lot. You can consider me as an Exhibit A of that proof,” Gore said. A recount in Florida ended in a Supreme Court ruling ensuring George W. Bush’s victory over Gore in 2000 in Florida and in the Electoral College. The official tally showed Gore lost Florida by 537 votes.

Energy Debate

Clinton said she would ramp up U.S. efforts in clean energy and efficiency if elected, repeating her calls for 500 million more solar panels installed by the end of her first term and generating enough renewable energy to power all American homes in a decade. The U.S. also must “lead to world to confront the climate challenge,” she said.

Trump, the Republican nominee, repeatedly has called climate change a hoax, although in September he denied doing that, and his campaign recently has softened its tone by acknowledging that scientists have raised concerns about warming.

Trump said during the Oct. 9 presidential debate that energy policy was “under siege” by the Obama administration.

“Now, I’m all for alternative forms of energy, including wind, including solar, et cetera. But we need much more than wind and solar,” he said.

He went on to say “the EPA is so restrictive that they are putting our energy companies out of business,” and he would “bring our energy companies back,” so they could make money and “pay off our national debt.” He did not mention climate change or specify any environmental policies.

Climate change came up in one question on energy policy in the second presidential debate.

Clinton during the debate said her energy policy included fighting climate change and called for the U.S. to be “the 21st Century clean energy superpower and create millions of new jobs and businesses.”

Trump Focuses on Coal

Trump advocated a transition to “clean coal” technologies. The term can refer to carbon capture and sequestration technology needed to burn coal without releasing carbon dioxide, the primary driver of climate change. That technology so far remains too expensive for commercial use.

“Coal will last for 1,000 years in this country,” Trump said.

“All you have to do is go to a great place like West Virginia or places like Ohio, which is phenomenal, or places like Pennsylvania, and you see what they’re doing to the people—miners and others in the energy business,” Trump said. “It’s a disgrace.”

Out-of-Work Miners

He further denounced Clinton for wanting to “put all the miners out of business,” a reference to her comment during a town hall meeting in Columbus, Ohio, in March. Clinton later said the remark had been a mistake and said she wanted to help out-of-work coal miners transition into different jobs.

Clinton reiterated that point at the debate.

“I also want to be sure that we don’t leave people behind,” she said. “That’s why I’m the only candidate, from the very beginning of this campaign, who had a plan to help us revitalize coal country because those coal miners and their fathers and their grandfathers, they dug that coal out. A lot of them lost their lives. They were injured, but they turned the lights on, and they powered our factories. I don’t want to walk away from them.”

Clinton has said she wants to spend $30 billion on economic diversification and job creation in coal communities and will free up unappropriated funding from the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund to repurpose mine lands and power plant sites.

To contact the reporters on this story: Renee Schoof in Washington at and Stephen Lee in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at

Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.