Washington state Governor Jay Inslee announced he’s running for president mere days ago, and he’s already going hard on the primary focus of his campaign: climate change.
Speaking with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, Inslee addressed the “huge cost to our economy, to our health, to our national security” if we as a nation do not properly work to address climate change. Asked by Stephanopoulos about what “sacrifices” Americans will have to make to combat the issue, Inslee countered with the potentially catastrophic price of doing nothing.
“If you net this out, what’s going to require sacrifices is the course of inaction,” Inslee said. “You’ve got to understand there are enormous costs of doing nothing here. It means we’re going to have more Paradise, Californias.”
Inslee is referring to the community of Paradise that was burned to the ground in the Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history. According to Cal Fire, nearly 90 deaths were linked to the devasting fire, which burned more than 153,000 acres and consumed nearly 14,000 residences and thousands of other structures. With nowhere to go and some left jobless after their employers or businesses burned to the ground, many Paradise residents were forced to take up temporary residence in a tent city in a Walmart parking lot in neighboring Chico.
“People are going to bear this burden, particularly frontline communities, marginalized communities, who are going to be flooded and burned out,” Inslee said. And he’s right. A study published last year in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One found that wildfires hit black and Native American communities especially hard. Indeed, multiple reports and studies have projected that the effects of climate change will hit poor communities the hardest.
With tackling climate change as the focus of his presidential campaign, Inslee has pledged to fight for environmental and economic justice for indigenous communities and communities of color. He also plans to create “millions of good-paying jobs” over the next decade in the clean energy sector, the embrace of which he said on This Week will present an “enormous economic advantage.”
To boot, he says he’ll do it all without accepting fossil fuel or corporate PAC money, which certainly isn’t the case for some other democratic 2020 frontrunners.