Ever since July, Hillary Clinton has eliminated the words “climate change” from most of her public addresses, according to recent reports.
A Yale University study released in July revealed that only 17 percent of American voters describe themselves as “alarmed” about climate change, or would rank it as a top tier election issue. Republican candidate Donald Trump has successfully positioned himself as a climate-change skeptic, and Hillary seems to have registered how little the issue resonates with voters.
Climate Home, a UK-based environmental advocacy group associated with the left-wing Guardian newspaper, searched for the words “climate change” in all speech transcripts published on the Clinton campaign website between January 2016 and early September and found that she had all but abandoned reference to climate change since July.
A broader search for the word “environment” confirmed the trend to back away from climate issues, with Clinton mentioning the word in just four of her 78 official speeches in 2016.
The release of the Yale study on American perceptions of “climate change” in July coincided with Bernie Sanders’ offering his public endorsement of Hillary on July 12, 2016.
While she was still contending with Sanders for the Democratic nomination, Hillary often brought up environmental issues. During the last six months of her battle with Sanders, in fact, the transcript log of her speeches reveals that she mentioned climate change in one out of every two speeches she gave.
Ever since that time, however, Clinton has referred to climate change in just one out of every five public addresses.
Clinton’s apparent waffling on the issue has not sat well with many on the Left.
Timmons Roberts, Ittleson professor of environmental studies at Brown University, said that Hillary’s lack of commitment to environmental issues has produced “a big haemorrhage of her supporters over to Jill Stein of the Green Party.”
Stein herself has taken advantage of Clinton’s ambivalence, criticizing the Democratic candidate for her unwillingness to take a more committed stand.
“Hillary Clinton’s silence on the issue of the depth of the ecological crisis is deafening,” Stein said. “While she makes the occasional passing nod to the environment, I have made it the very cornerstone of my entire campaign.”
Republican candidate Donald Trump, on the other hand, has continued to gain ground on a platform that includes climate-change skepticism. “I’m not a big believer in man-made climate change,” he famously said last March.
A Pew Research Center poll earlier this year found that fewer than half of all Americans are concerned that climate change will harm them personally, and that most Republicans and Independents do not believe that global climate change is “a very serious problem.”
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