[TARA MCCARTY | Tampa Bay Times] As 20 Democratic candidates arrive in Miami this week for the first round of presidential debates, the region of tide-swollen floods, hurricane-battered communities and toxic-algae infestations is providing a vivid backdrop for an issue that has emerged as a top priority for many voters: climate change. Recent polls show that the issue is a litmus test for many Democratic voters, and the party’s candidates have responded with more detailed and aggressive proposals than were imagined even four years ago. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has made climate change the center of his campaign and released two packages of proposals that include shutting down all coal plants by 2030 and investing $3 trillion in emissions-efficient transportation, infrastructure and housing. Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke has used his climate proposal to bring renewed attention to his faltering campaign. And Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio have all embraced the Green New Deal, the aspirational attempt to move to a low-carbon economy put forward by Rep. Alexandrio Ocasio-Cortez of New York. For an issue that received fewer than […]

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