Hillary Clinton has tonight stood on a stage with Al Gore to remind Floridians – and anyone else tuned in online – that climate change is a clear and present threat to the US and the world.
Outlining what a Clinton administration would do to tackle the phenomenon, she sought to underline just how different her views were from her opponent, a man who almost makes it his hobby to ignore scientific data of any kind.
“The Paris agreement is our last, best chance to solve the climate crisis,” Clinton told the audience in Miami. “Trump wants to cancel it.”
Reminding the audience that Trump claims climate change is a Chinese hoax, she said: “We can’t risk putting a climate denier in the White House.”
“Our next president [must] step up to the challenge, to protect our planet, to grow our clean energy economy.”
She reaffirmed her focus on building new solar and wind power plants, and retrofitting the electrical infrastructure to make sure clean energy sources can efficiently connect to the grid. Clinton also said that she hopes to cut oil consumption by a third.
“If you need additional convincing, just remember what happened this week,” she added, making a pointed reference to Hurricane Matthew.
This powerful hurricane robbed several Americans of their lives shortly after it killed around 1,000 people in Haiti. Clinton claimed it was likely to have been more destructive thanks to climate change, and although there is no direct data to support that just yet, she’s almost certainly right.
Sea surface temperatures are indeed at all-time highs, and studies show that this is making powerful hurricanes and typhoons increasingly more destructive. Although most fear the terrifying wind speeds, it’s actually the storm surges that hurricanes bring that kill the most people through drowning or building collapse.
While cutting down on America’s fossil fuel consumption, she also said she wants to build better flood defenses against these increasingly potent hurricanes.
“Let’s focus on what’s really important in this election. This is what I want you to hear and understand,” Clinton declared. “One in eight homes in Florida could be underwater by the end of the century.”
Hurricane Matthew unleashed most of its fury on Haiti. NASA
Florida was one of the states in the path of Hurricane Matthew, and many residents there are acutely aware of the consequences of inaction on climate change. Indeed, Trump wasn’t the only Republican target in her speech.
Making a reference to Florida’s Senator Marco Rubio, a former GOP presidential candidate, she noted that he often used the refrain “I’m not a scientist” when it came to the topic of climate change. “Well why doesn’t he ask a scientist and learn more about it then?”
Al Gore, one of the world’s most widely recognized promoters of climate change mitigation, linked climate change to the upcoming election in the starkest possible terms.
“Number one: when it comes to the most urgent issue facing our country and the world, the choice in this election is extremely clear,” he said. “Hillary Clinton will make solving the climate crisis a top national priority.”
Earlier, Clinton mentioned that the Pentagon had concluded that climate change is a threat to US national security, wondering if Trump would perhaps listen to their advice, if not that of almost every scientific expert.
“Here’s my second message. Your vote really, really counts,” Gore added, noting he was “Exhibit A” in this regard.
He’s right. As we at IFLScience have recently pointed out, the best thing anyone can do to fight climate change is to vote for candidates that comprehend how terrifying it is, whether they are hoping to become a local councilor, a senator, or – just maybe – the leader of the free world.
Don't boo. Vote. Alexandru Nika/Shutterstock