MIAMI – Hillary Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore reunited on the campaign trail Tuesday to highlight what both consider one of the most important issues of the presidential campaign: climate change.
“The world is on the cusp of either building on the progress and solving the climate crisis or stepping back, washing our hands of America’s traditional role as the leader of the world, and letting the big polluters call the shots,” he told a crowd of about 1,600 at Miami-Dade College’s Kendall campus Tuesday.
Gore also noted that millennials, whose Election Day turnout rates are lower than most other age groups, have called climate change an issue for their time, but if they don’t vote, they are jeopardizing real action on that issue.
“Your vote really, really, really counts. You can consider me as an Exhibit A of that,” he said, alluding to his 2000 White House bid, in which he lost Florida to George W. Bush by 537 votes. The crowd responded, chanting, “You won!”
The warning hit home for Stephanie Sarkaore, 24. “Who know what this country would be like if Al Gore was president, and it’s because of some voters right here in Florida that he wasn’t,” she said. “And it’s really important that we pay attention to that.”
Taking place just days after Hurricane Matthew devastated parts of Florida, the rally focused solely on the issue of climate change, and Clinton took the opportunity to draw a stark contrast between herself and her opponent, Republican nominee Donald Trump.
“He doesn’t care about the environment,” Clinton said, noting that he seems to think global warming is “a hoax created by the Chinese,” a point she brought up during the first presidential debate.
“He may not care, but we do,” she said. “We can’t keep sending climate deniers and defeatists to Congress and certainly not to the White House.”
Gore said Clinton would build on the progress of President Barack Obama under the Paris climate change agreement and work to develop renewable energy sources.
“We now have the new energy technologies and efficiencies for changing our lives that can diminish pollution,” he said.
In addition to the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew, Gore pointed out that rising sea levels and Zika infections in Dade County are also related to global warming.
“In this election, the future of Miami and the cities up and down the west coast and east coast of Florida are on the ballot as well,” Gore said.
“The choice in this election is extremely clear. Hillary Clinton will make solving the climate crisis a top national priority,” Gore said. “Her opponent, based on the ideas that he has presented, would take us toward a climate catastrophe.”