(CN) – Al Gore laid out the environmental stakes of the 2016 race for the White House on Tuesday, telling attendees of a Hillary Clinton rally in Miami that electing Donald Trump would lead to “climate catastrophe.”
Gore, who has been an environmental and climate change activist since serving as vice president during President Bill Clinton’s eight years in White House, was in Miami to vouch for Hillary Clinton’s dedication to the climate change and renewable energy causes, and to appeal to millennials and other young people who consider global warming a critical issue.
“The choice in this election is extremely clear. Hillary Clinton will make solving the climate crisis a top national priority,” Gore said over the sustained applause of the 1,600 in attendance.
“Her opponent, based on the ideas that he has presented, would take us toward a climate catastrophe,” he said.
More than advocate for a position, however, Gore’s presence alongside Clinton was also a potent reminder of the importance of every single vote.
Few in the crowd could fail to remember the role Florida played in George W. Bush ultimately securing the presidency in 2000.
Gore won the popular vote in the 2000 presidential election, but lost the presidency to Bush after a lengthy Florida recount and a stunning Supreme Court decision that ultimately forced the Democrat to concede.
“Your vote really, really, really counts,” he told the crowd. “You can consider me as an exhibit A for that.”
It responded with a spirited chant of “You won! You Won!”
During her remarks, Clinton stressed her plans to reduce the nation’s reliance on fossil fuel, develop more renewable energy an initiative that is also a key part of her economic plan and to build more energy-efficient buildings and infrastructure.
She also lambasted her GOP opponent, reminding her audience that Trump has called climate change a “hoax” and promised he would renegotiate the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, an international treaty designed to curb the rise in global temperatures.
“We cannot risk putting a climate denier in the White House,” Clinton said.
“I wish that Donald would listen to people here in Florida who are doing work against climate change crisis,” she added as dozens of Trump supporters protested outside of the college venue.
Neither Clinton nor Gore neglected to mention Hurricane Matthew, which threatened Florida last week.
“Hurricane Matthew went up from tropical storm to a category 5 hurricane in just 36 hours due to climate change. Waters in the Caribbean are warmer than usual,” Gore said.
Clinton also tied climate change to the spread of the Zika virus in the Miami area, and to sea level rise, noting both are costing the city and state and considerable about of money.
On Monday, for instance, the Florida Department of Health announced it will allocate $7.4 million to fight the mosquito-borne virus in Miami-Dade County.
“The changing climate conditions cause the mosquitoes to reproduce faster and spread the disease quicker,” Gore said.
Among the enthusiastic attendees at the rally was Miguel Zamudio, an honor student at Miami-Dade College.
“I stand here today proud to support a candidate that I know understands and advocates for the issues that I hold dear to my heart,” Zamudio said. “Issues like immigration reform, climate change and better access for all to a quality education.”
Zamudio, who serves on the student government at his college, urged other young people in attendance to register to vote in the Nov. 8 election.
“Please make sure that you and your friends, your family, your barber… register to vote,” he said.
At the end of his speech, Gore encouraged voters to participate in early voting, which begins in Miami-Dade County on October 24.
“Let’s make Hillary Clinton president,” he said.
After the rally, Clinton met privately with the Latin Builders Association, the nation’s largest Hispanic Construction group, who for the first time in its history endorsed a Democrat candidate.
She then made an unannounced stop at the Overtown Youth Center, where she was joined by former Miami Heat player Alonzo Mourning and his wife.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, right, accompanied by former Vice President Al Gore, left, takes the stage for a rally at Miami Dade College in Miami, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Additional photos by Monica Pais
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