When Al Gore loss the presidency in 2000, he quickly rebranded as an expert on global warming and “climate change.” The swift switchover likely saved him from a career in obscurity, and thanks to the profitability of carbon trading schemes, has made him a rich man.
Taking a cue from her husband’s former Vice President, failed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton appears to be rebranding herself in a similar way, as an expert on the issue of climate change (though she offered little in the way of policy solutions when she was actually in office). Over the weekend, Clinton flew to the U.S. Virgin Islands for a meeting of the “climate elite,” hosted by — who else — the Clinton Global Initiative.
“Glad to be in St. Thomas, USVI this morning speaking with leaders on the front lines of climate change. There are so many people working to create resilient communities and inspire climate-smart actions—tune in to hear from some of them at 11am ET,” Clinton posted on Twitter.
Glad to be in St. Thomas, USVI this morning speaking with leaders on the front lines of climate change. There are so many people working to create resilient communities and inspire climate-smart actions—tune in to hear from some of them at 11am ET: https://t.co/P5Jemwrmyr
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 4, 2019
The benefit of being the “Clinton” of the “Clinton Global Initiative” is that you can make yourself the keynote speaker of an environmental event, despite having little to show in the way of environmental policy innovation.
In her speech Wednesday, Clinton promised to take the lead in handling the burgeoning environmental crisis and pledged to build “climate resilience.
The change is innovative. Clinton has avoided climate change as an issue for decades, and in 2012, embraced it only so long as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders remained in the race. Once Sanders exited and gave his endorsement to Clinton, The Guardian observed, Clinton dropped discussion of environmental issues from her campaign stump speech. Sanders aides noted that Clinton felt the environment wasn’t a central issue of her campaign, but more of an “add-on.”
Her policy platform on the issue, from her 2012 website, shows that she mostly just planned on continuing President Obama’s environmental efforts and using the Paris Climate Accords as a benchmark for meeting environmental goals within the United States — certainly no “Green New Deal.”
The meeting is being held in St. Thomas because, Clinton said on social media, “island nations and territories already bear the brunt of climate change,” but like most high-profile climate conferences which almost always locate themselves in tony resort towns or in exclusive pricey locales, St. Thomas isn’t exactly the easiest place to get to. Certainly, there are few “climate friendly” options for travel to St. Thomas, and Hillary Clinton isn’t going to swim, sail, or float over the island paradise.
That means, of course, that Clinton and her collection of “global climate elite” will all fly in to the U.S. Virgin Islands on carbon-spewing jets, likely emitting more carbon dioxide in a single trip than most American households emit in a year. Which, of course, puts her right in line with other high-profile environmental activists, from Leonardo DiCaprio to her own husband, Bill Clinton, both of whom fly in to and out of the primary yearly global environmental conference in Davos on private jets.