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The 'climate candidate' for president: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee
Gov. Jay Inslee, surrounded by Democratic lawmakers from the Senate and House, talks to the media in April 2019.
Rachel La Corete | AP Photo file

In recent polls, Americans ranked climate change near the bottom of a list of public policy priorities. But one 2020 presidential candidate has made climate change the central issue of his campaign. Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington says, "if it's not job one, it won't get done."

He shared his plans to combat climate change with Greg Dalton, the host of the Commonwealth Club of California’s "Climate One" series.

According to reputable scientific data, July 2019 was the Earth's hottest month on record. Sizzling heat in Europe and a warm Arctic helped propel the global average temperature to new heights. 

Inslee said, if elected president, he “will organize the entire federal government around this.” In focusing on climate change, Inslee said he is “speaking to those people who have had economic insecurity in their lives because we have a message of economic growth, and clean energy is central to that effort.” 

Inslee said combating climate change is critical, and he’s “confident it will be good for the economic prospects of Americans.” 

When asked if Democrats will support a “single-issue candidate,” Inslee responded, “climate change is not one issue, it is all the issues. It is an economic issue, to prevent the economic disaster that’s going to befall us. … It is a health issue… And it is a national security issue because of the political instability caused in part by movement of climate change refugees.”

Inslee said, “the projections are that in later decades of this century, the economic losses we will experience from an ‘inaction path’ would be double the last recession. Climate change could cause multiples of the last recession in economic dislocation.”