“I am a candidate for the presidency because I am the only one who will make the fight against climate change the highest priority of our country.” With that message, Democratic governor Jay Inslee (68) of the state of Washington – on the American west coast – his campaign for the presidential elections of 2020 officially kicked off.
Inslee is thus the very first presidential candidate of a large party in American history that makes the climate its central point of contention.
The video with which Inslee announced his candidacy begins with images of Seattle, above which threatening clouds gather. “We are the first generation to really feel climate change and we are the last to be able to do something about it,” it sounds straightforward.
Inslee wants to combat global warming by, among other things, switching the entire country to 100 percent renewable energy.
This is the first time that the climate seems to become an important theme during the American presidential elections. Although there has been warned for decades about global warming due to human intervention, no debate was mentioned in any debate in the previous elections in 2016.
It only started to become an issue when President Trump’s administration started the attack on the first timid regulations that President Barack Obama introduced. Last year a new movement arose around some left-wing Democrats – such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – who asked for a Green New Deal: a far-reaching plan to drastically reduce the emissions of harmful substances and create new jobs in the renewable energy sector.
A recent poll showed last month that the Democratic voters’ climate at the back of the priority list had moved up to second place just after health care. A study by Yale University that was published this week indicated that 85 percent of registered voters – 95 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of Republicans – believe that all utilities must use 100 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2050. About half said they were more inclined to vote for a candidate behind them.
But for Inslee, victory is already beginning: he has to compete against a richly filled field during the Democratic primaries, and there too are candidates who view the climate as an important point of contention. For example, Senator Bernie Sanders has been campaigning for renewable energy legislation for three years now and senators Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Cory Booker are also supporting the Green New Deal mentioned earlier.
Inslee has been a champion of climate and renewable energy for almost 15 years. In 2016, he was among others the first governor who wanted to reduce the emission of CO2 with an ‘executive order’ and started with a fund that provided financial support to companies that wanted to switch to green energy. In 2017 he founded the US Climate Alliance, which wanted to maintain climate talks with other countries after Trump announced that he was withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement.