Inslee’s Climate Proposal Ups the Ante

Democratic hopeful (high hopes) and Governor of Washington State, Jay Inslee, released his proposed plan to take on climate change — which is the rationale for his candidacy — and it is the most aggressively progressive climate plan thus far, raising the bar for the other candidates.  In a slick 30 second spot (see below) first launched on Twitter, Governor Inslee calls for:

  • 100% carbon neutrality by 2030
  • End coal power production by 2030
  • 100% clean vehicles by 2030
  • 100% clean buildings by 2030
  • 100% clean electricity by 2035
  • Invest in front-line and low-income communities
  • guaranteed support for workers

Inslee makes a compelling personal appeal for why he is centering his campaign around climate action — his grandchildren.  In his stump speech on the plan, Governor Inslee says, “I love being governor, but I made a decision. On my deathbed, I want to be able to look at my three grandkids and say, ‘I did everything humanly possible to help save you from climate change, and that includes running for president of the United States.’”  In focusing on clean energy and transportation, Inslee also is strategic — as Vox points out, “[c]ollectively, electricity, transportation, and buildings are responsible for 70 percent of US carbon emissions, so in many ways, this is the central and most significant plant of the agenda. (The campaign promises policy on existing vehicles and existing buildings — in many ways trickier problems — in subsequent proposals.)”

Why This Matters:  Inslee’s plan is focused like a laser beam on clean energy to fuel homes, workplaces and transportation.  It adopts some of the features of the Green New Deal that have been criticized, such as the “guarantee” of “support” for workers, and it sets high targets such as 100% clean vehicles and buildings in just over a decade, but by that he means “new” vehicles and buildings, not all of them.  And it leaves out entirely other sectors of the economy, like agriculture and manufacturing, which will be needed to get our emissions down overall.  But we give him credit for really getting into the details on how to revolutionize the energy and transportation sectors, which would drive change in almost every aspect of our society.  Plus any policy proposal is better when accompanied (see below) by jazz horns!  He gets an “A” for putting out an ambitious plan that provides lots of substance — Inslee’s plan guarantees carbon neutrality by 2030 rather than 2050 as O’Rourke did.  Now, if only the Democratic party would agree to his request for a debate dedicated to climate change!

To Go Deeper:  Vox’s David Roberts did an excellent summary of Inslee’s proposal – you can read it here.

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