By Spencer Feingold
Washington governor and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Jay Inslee continued to boast about his climate change bona fides in California over the weekend.
“Speeches are one thing, results are another, and my executive leadership has been very successful,” Inslee told Cheddar in an interview at the California Democratic Party convention in San Francisco.
Since announcing this bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination in March, Inslee has made fighting climate change his core campaign issue. The governor was one of the first candidates to release a detailed policy plan to move the U.S. away from dirty energy sources and curb pollution. He also called for a $9 trillion investment to create eight million new jobs around a clean energy economy.
Moreover, Inslee proposed a restructuring of U.S. foreign policy — known as the Global Climate Mobilization plan — that not only recommits the country to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, but employs “all the tools available in diplomacy and foreign relations, international finance, trade, aid, and assistance — with an unwavering focus on global climate action.”
Inslee’s plan also got a major endorsement on Tuesday from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who told The Hill it is “gold standard climate plan.”
Just last week, the environmental organization Greenpeace ranked Inslee the number one candidate to address the climate crisis. Inslee was followed by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.). Of the Democrats, the environmental organization ranked Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper as the least committed to fighting climate change.
“To those who currently lead this ranking, we say keep it up. The bar is high because nothing less than transformational action can guide us out of this crisis,” Janet Redman, Greenpeace’s climate campaign director, said in a statement. “To those at the back of the pack, we say step it up. Show us you have the mettle to take on the oil executives standing in the way of progress towards the green, prosperous future our country deserves.”
Inslee also told Cheddar that he looks forward to bringing climate change to the Democratic primary debate stages and discussing the issues, especially with former Vice President Joe Biden.
“My plans to defeat climate change have been shown to be the strongest, the most aggressive,” Inslee said. “I think you’ll see some difference in my plan and the vice president's because I believe we have to end our dependence on coal, I think we have to be aggressive in creating eight million jobs.”
On Tuesday, Biden joined Inslee and a handful of other candidates when his campaign released a 22-page document that embraced the Green New Deal and detailed a plan to fight climate change. The plan, which was lauded by environmental groups, calls for $1.7 trillion in federal funding over 10 years for clean energy and other green initiatives.
“This is a huge win, but we're keeping up the pressure,” the Sunrise Movement, an activist group that has championed the Green New Deal, said on Twitter. “While there are lots of good things in the plan, it doesn’t chart a clear course of how Biden would move America off of fossil fuels and towards sustainable energy.”
Biden’s proposal, however, faced criticism for using language written by other organizations without proper citation — a critique not taken lightly by the Biden camp given the plagiarism accusation that plagued his 1988 presidential campaign. The campaign updated the document with correct sources within hours.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) also released a comprehensive climate change plan on Tuesday that detailed her commitment to the Green New Deal and outlined a theme of “economic patriotism.” Under Warren’s “Green Manufacturing Plan,” the government will invest $2 trillion over the next 10 years to create clean energy jobs and meet ambitious climate goals.