Inslee campaign leads to action on climate change

Presidency bid provides more effective, direct climate change address than other candidates



Gov. Jay Inslee outlines Washington’s role in the movement for cleaner energy policies during a speech and Q&A session Wednesday in Bryan Hall. Inslee said clean energy jobs grow twice as fast in Washington.

LAURA BATE, Evergreen columnist

Gov. Jay Inslee’s presidency would mean addressing climate change as a priority rather than a side project, a long overdue step. This alone warrants supporting his campaign to the fullest, but it’s important we hold him accountable to his other responsibilities.

Many doubt Inslee’s commitment to a presidential campaign as well as to a presidential position. Inslee announced his candidacy for the 2020 presidential but has yet to give up his role as a governor.

People see this as noncommittal to both his campaign and his office. Some say he neglects his duties as governor as he pursues a more influential position. If he can’t fully commit to a state position, then he can’t commit to a national one.

But he is fully committed to both, as his pursuit of presidency aligns with the success of Washington.

In his recent clean energy speech at WSU, he emphasized the need for national action against climate change.

“People are now seeing climate change not just as a graph but as a pressing challenge to their own lives,” Inslee said.

Climate change has caused multiple disasters across the country. Inslee cited Texas’ torrential rains, Florida’s raised roads in preparation for floods and the fires in California that resulted in part from drought as just the start of environmental turmoil to come. These events cost millions or more to repair, money that could have been spent to prevent them in the first place.

“People often ask me, ‘Isn’t it too expensive to do something about climate change?’ ” Inslee said. “[But] it’s more expensive to deny climate change.”

It’s in the interest of Washington as well as every state to prepare for climate-related disasters now so we don’t spend more on fixing the damage of climate change later. When you know a flood is coming, it’s better to prepare a dam than to save the money to repair the town.

National changes made for a more stable environment will also directly improve the economy of Washington. The clean energy industry already established would benefit from national support. The policies created in Washington have already made more jobs for the people and income for the state.

“It’s not unicorns and rainbows that clean energy is a fast-growing part of the economy,” Inslee said.

Solar installments, eco-friendly fuels and other projects addressing climate change will only expand as the need for more alternatives rise. Inslee should push for more pro-environment legislation to hasten this process and benefit Washington residents.

These aren’t just empty promises, as Inslee already has a strong record of working against climate change. Clean energies like wind turbines, solar panels and electric cars are a big step in combating climate change. Their use in Washington state is largely thanks to Inslee’s policies.

His experience in planning out climate change solutions puts him in a position to make actionable, agreeable legislature regarding this pursuit like no president before him.

However, Inslee’s presidential campaign is not free and it’s not guaranteed to succeed.

Travel and security expenses related to Inslee’s campaign have been charged to the state, costing thousands more than allotted for in the budget. While it’s certainly costly to the state, our governor’s safety ensures his plans to benefit our state come to fruition, which is more than the worthwhile insurance policy.

His campaign brings the talk of a national address to climate changes closer to action, even if he does not become president. But regardless of what the solution will be, treating climate change will come at some hefty expenses. The recent carbon tax is just one of those.

Many rural residents fear higher carbon taxes because they depend on heavy equipment, driving and other energy consuming tasks, Cornell Clayton, WSU professor for political science said.

The cost of fixing climate change will always be high, but whether we face that cost as a nation or a state depends on the success of Inslee’s campaign. Climate change will eventually harm every person in some way. Washington state has a strong base for clean energy already, so support on a national scale only furthers the beneficial effects it has on the environment and the economy.

Whether he wins or not, Inslee’s campaign for the presidency is beneficial to Washington and the U.S. but he should be given the best chance at success for our success.