A crystal clear choice on climate change

Former Vice President Al Gore speaks on climate change as Hillary Clinton listens at a campaign rally in Miami on Tuesday.
Former Vice President Al Gore speaks on climate change as Hillary Clinton listens at a campaign rally in Miami on Tuesday. Sun-Sentinel

On the long, long list of reasons that Hillary Clinton would be a far better president than Donald Trump, the world of difference on climate change is near the top.

If voters had any doubt about what’s at stake, what the candidates said in Florida should crystallize it.

In Miami on Tuesday, Clinton appeared for the first time this campaign with former Vice President Al Gore, who sounded the alarm on global warming long before it became fashionable. Gore warned about sea-level rise that could flood where 1.2 million Florida residents live by the next century, and argued that warming oceans contributed to Hurricane Matthew’s rapid strengthening and that climate change is helping accelerate the spread of the Zika virus.

“Mother Nature is giving us a very clear and powerful message,” Gore said.

It’s a message being ignored by far too many Republicans in Congress, and now by their nominee for president.

In Panama City later Tuesday, Trump went after California’s Tom Steyer, the billionaire environmentalist and Trump critic who is spending millions to help elect Democrats. Calling him a radical activist, Trump said that in return for that money, “Clinton wants to shut down energy production all across the United States” – which, like so much of what he says, is false.

At Sunday night’s debate with Clinton, Trump claimed that the U.S. has 1,000 years of “clean coal.” Wrong again. Fact checkers pointed out that there is no clean coal plant operating in the U.S. because it’s not economically viable.

Trump also repeatedly has said that human-caused climate change is a hoax perpetrated by China, though he sometimes claims he’s joking. He vows to shred international agreements to reduce carbon emissions, including the historic Paris accord signed in December. If Trump became president, it’s likely he would try to roll back progress on global warming, perhaps even in California, long a national leader on renewable energy.

“We cannot risk putting a climate denier in the White House,” Clinton told supporters.

Instead, she rightly sees the potential in clean energy, not only to reduce carbon emissions but also to create good jobs.

If you care about climate change, the choice in this election is a no-brainer – and you know who lacks the brain.

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