This August, tens of thousands of Louisiana residents were evacuated from their homes - and over a dozen were killed - after 20 inches of rain in two days caused massive flooding.

Scientists traditionally have regarded storms of this magnitude as a 500-year occurance, yet in less than two years, eight of them have struck the American South.

Experts are calling it the latest reminder that climate change is not some distant threat that we won't have to worry about for another few generations. It is here, and it is now.

Aside from the new prevalence of extreme weather that has caused untold economic and personal damage to our cities and towns, climate change has shown itself in the drying out of farmland, decimating agricultural industries across the world. Beyond our coasts, it has made our oceans more acidic, creating a massive death toll of essential sea life. The rising sea levels it causes are already threatening to inundate cities like Miami.

As bizarre as the 2016 election is, it has, like so many before it, centered mostly on the issues of the economy and homeland security. The candidates have, for the most part, been alarmingly silent on the issue of climate change, which has a near certainty of continuing to affect the current generation, and those after it, unless we act now.

Though too many other issues are taking center stage, it is clearHillary Clinton has put a lot of work into crafting a large-scale, intricate vision for how she, as president, would combat climate change - and, frankly, she should be more outspoken about it, because it's got some pretty good stuff. The plan calls for tax credits for companies that develop clean, renewable energy sources. It's backed by hard numbers: a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025; half a billion solar panels installed in the U.S. by the end of her first term. It has won Hillary the endorsements of some high-profile environmentalists and conservation groups.

Just as important as what Hillary would do for the environment is what she wouldn't do to it. She wouldn't renege on our energy commitments under the Paris Climate Accord, which we entered into under President Obama and which is currently our best hope for ensuring the world's most egregious polluters do their part to cut emissions and transition to clean energy.

For months now, Obama's Clean Power Plan has been under attack from the fossil fuel industry; if the dispute lasts beyond Obama's presidency, any judges Hillary appoints, whether to the Supreme Court or elsewhere, will be likely to fight for the CPP's survival. Many political analysts have predicted that a Hillary Clinton presidency would strongly resemble Obama's presidency. As far as energy policy is concerned, this is a good thing.

Climate Change is important to Hillary Clinton. This was her tweet in 2015. Read her plan at

All this stands in stark contrast to the energy policy of Donald Trump, which has amounted to a full embrace of fossil fuels and complete disregard for the dangers they pose. He has been vocal - as he is about pretty much everything - about being an advocate for the coal and oil industries. He has disregarded climate change as a conspiracy and a hoax, even as other Republicans are finally, though apprehensively, starting to acknowledge it. He has vowed to abandon our country's commitments under the Paris Climate Accord.

Anyone with an interest in the health of the planet and the quality of life for future generations should be sickened by this.

Hillary's detractors, of course, suggest that her climate change plan, like everything else she has presented on the campaign trail, is no more than a cynical ploy to get elected, and will be abandoned on Day One of her presidency. Funny, then, that she has appointed a full team to hammer out a comprehensive plan, instead of, say, simply paying lip service to the green cause in campaign speeches, which would be a lot cheaper and less time-consuming.

Critics also point out that she has taken money from the fossil fuel industry. Hillary has responded that some of her donors have been individuals working at oil companies, but that the companies themselves have not given her money. In any case, Barack Obama, who has taken significant action to promote clean energy, and Bernie Sanders, who has enjoyed the full trust of the left in advocating for it, have also accepted fossil-fuel-affiliated donations, albeit to a lesser degree.

Finally, Hillary has taken heat for declining to fully denounce fracking - though her position on fracking calls for significant limitations on the practice. We can debate the extent of the environmental dangers of fracking, and whether it should be approved of under any circumstances. But we should at least acknowledge that those who embrace it often do so as an intermediary step in the pivot away from coal and oil. The alternative - Trump's drill-baby-drill position - is, without question, exponentially more objectionable.

No voter who has to spend the next several decades on this planet - or has loved ones who do - should value any issue in this election more than the issue of climate change. There is no time to delay any further; there is no time to make any sacrifices that would allow a full-on champion of fossil fuels into the White House for the next four to eight years. Hillary Clinton has plans, backed by scientific expertise and major endorsements, to save our planet. The notion that she would completely abandon this cause once in office is a facile one with little to no evidence to support it. On climate change, no candidate's plans and positions could matter more, and on climate change, #ImWithHer.


August 29, 2016

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