Campaign 2016

ClimateWire's Lehmann talks next steps from Clinton, Trump on climate

With former Vice President Al Gore joining the Clinton campaign this week, climate change is beginning to play a more significant role in the final stretch of the presidential race. On today's The Cutting Edge, ClimateWire deputy editor Evan Lehmann discusses the climate strategy coming out of both campaigns and the potential future role for Gore in a Clinton administration.


Monica Trauzzi: Welcome to the Cutting Edge. Climate change beginning to play a more significant role in the presidential race this week with Al Gore joining the Clinton campaign. With me today to discuss the climate strategies coming out of both campaigns is ClimateWire deputy editor Evan Lehmann. Evan, thank you for joining me.

Evan Lehmann: Thank you.

Monica Trauzzi: Evan, so the addition of Al Gore on the trail is a well-timed move by the Clinton campaign in order to attract younger voters and suburban women. What are the key messages that we've heard from the campaign on the trail this week?

Evan Lehmann: Well, the main message is that Clinton is saying climate change will become a much worse problem if she's not elected. We haven't seen this kind of emphasis on climate change in this cycle or in previous cycles really. The candidates are diametrically opposed on the issue, and just the fact that Clinton spent a day talking about it really shows that she thinks there's some electoral advantage in doing that.

Monica Trauzzi: And Clinton signaled that there may be a role beyond the trail for Al Gore in a future Clinton administration. What role could we see the former vice president take on?

Evan Lehmann: Well, that's a great question. If I had to guess, I'd say he might be an informal adviser, but you know, I tend to think there was a lot of attention, maybe too much, paid on her comment at that Florida rally. I really think it was a pitch to Bernie Sanders supporters. You know, she was saying Al Gore's with me, you can trust me on climate change.

Monica Trauzzi: How has Trump and his campaign responded to Al Gore being on the trail?

Evan Lehmann: He's had a field day. You know, he admitted watching some of the coverage of that event and, you know, he said that — he sort of mocked that, you know, a tiny fraction of her supporters attended the event, and he referred to Gore as this poor guy who is trotted out by Clinton to sort of convince voters that climate change is a bigger threat than nuclear weapons, for example.

Monica Trauzzi: Trump has denied suggesting that climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese. What more do we know about his current stance on climate change?

Evan Lehmann: So he's pretty hard to pin down. As you know, he's called it a hoax, he's called it BS, he's said that he's not a big believer in man-made climate change. You know, perhaps the most definitive statement came from his campaign manager who said that he does not believe people are contributing to climate change, that it's, you know, made by natural causes. What we do know is that he's against the Clean Power Plan and he's promised to kill that and he has promised to pull out of the Paris climate agreement.

Monica Trauzzi: So what's next coming from the campaigns? How might we see climate playing over the next — the final four weeks?

Evan Lehmann: Yeah, that's a good question too. You know, I think it's really up to Clinton and sort of how much she wants to emphasize this issue and how much she thinks it will be an advantage electorally to her. You know, there's a debate coming up next week, and I would bet that she brings it up then.

Monica Trauzzi: All right. It'll be interesting to watch. Thanks for coming on the show.

Evan Lehmann: Thank you.

Monica Trauzzi: More Cutting Edge coming next Friday. We will see you then.

[End of Audio]



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