When it comes to climate change, Hillary Clinton presents a clear choice over her opponent, Donald Trump, who has called the phenomenon driving increased flooding in South Florida a "hoax," campaign chairman John Podesta told a University of Miami crowd Monday
"There’s a stark difference between the two sides and a stark reality that the country is facing," said Podesta, who was largely preaching to the choir, with an audience made up of mostly university researchers, climate activists and solar advocates.
Podesta, who did not address Clinton's weekend health issues, took part in a round table held at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science that included local elected officials, solar advocates and a university climatologist organized by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. The panel offered a mostly unfettered chance to make his candidate's case, with UM atmospheric scientist Ben Kirtman, County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner, and Broward County sustainability chief Jennifer Jurado also participating.
While the panel spent a fair amount of time outlining challenges, they also told Podesta that South Florida has made some advances. Financing for solar panels has increased and cooperation among the four counties has overcome political divides.
"We created a regional action plan [in 2009] that has endured," Jurado said.
Podesta said Clinton fully intends to carry on the mission of addressing climate change started by the Obama administration, where he served as a senior advisor on the issue.
"It’s something that I think Hillary has put front and center in the campaign," he said.
When asked if the hastily organized round table was held to reinforce the message, organizer Susan Glickman said scheduling more than anything dictated the timing.
"Now people are paying attention to the general election and this is going to be a key issue," she said. "There's a clear contrast and the timing has more to do with we're in the season."