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The Climate Debate Is Happening, but Where's Inslee?

Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced yesterday that he is ending his presidential campaign.

In June, a minor controversy flared after Inslee proposed a town hall debate on climate change. The Democratic National Committee told him that if he participated in an unofficial event focused on this crisis, he would be barred from official DNC debates. However, in July, CNN announced it would host a climate-only debate on September 4 for candidates who earned at least 2 percent in four qualifying polls.

Unfortunately, Inslee, who has proposed a plan for a 100-percent-renewable, zero-emission America by 2035, hasn’t reached 2 percent in any DNC-approved polls. During the two debates thus far, Inslee did not achieve a breakout moment in the brief discussions on global warming. The nine candidates who did make the cut for the climate debate are: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke and Andrew Yang.

Inslee’s campaign aimed to prioritize climate change as a top issue for the Democratic agenda, and, in that sense, it was a success. Climate change was discussed in both debates held this summer, and both CNN and MSNBC are planning forums where the candidates will discuss their climate plans. Additionally, the DNC will vote on having a debate wholly dedicated to the issue.

Climate currently ranks among the top three issues for Democratic voters in primary dedicated states; this shift in opinion is largely due to three factors: the campaign of Jay Inslee, the work of environmental activists and continued warnings from Mother Nature in the form of numerous raging wildfires in the Arctic, Alaska and the Amazon, among other places.

On Wednesday, Inslee released the final installment of his ambitious and detailed climate agenda, focused on agriculture and climate change. Altogether, his campaign released over 200 pages of comprehensive policy that translates the ideas of the Green New Deal into tactical details, specifying which agencies and programs need to do what. Whichever Democratic candidate becomes the nominee, and potentially the next president, should certainly refer to Inslee’s thorough plan.

Today, Senator Bernie Sanders plans to release his own $16.3 trillion “Green New Deal” to fight climate change, the latest and most expensive proposal from the field of Democratic presidential candidates aimed at cutting carbon emissions. In it, Sanders declares climate change a national emergency; envisions building new nationwide solar, wind and geothermal power sources; and commits $200 billion in aid for poor nations handling climate change.



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