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Jay Inslee May Not Be the Climate Candidate He Seems to Be

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Democratic presidential candidate Washington Governor Jay Inslee talks with solar workers and homeowners about recent solar panel installations on their homes on May 2nd, 2019, in San Francisco, California.

Last month, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, who’s billing himself as the climate candidate for the 2020 presidential election, released the most comprehensive climate action plan of any candidate in the field. Inslee’s Evergreen Economy plan proposes funneling $9 trillion over a decade to transition to clean energy, build out public transport and high-speed rail, invest in research into new agriculture and energy technology, and create a “G.I. Bill” for fossil fuel workers. Vox and Grist have likened Inslee’s plan to the Green New Deal, and GND pioneer Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez herself has praised it on Twitter.

Polling at less than 1 percent within a crowded Democratic field, Inslee isn’t exactly a frontrunner for 2020. But his presence in the race, some commentators argue, will push other candidates to pay more attention to the climate crisis than they would otherwise. On Earth Day this year, Inslee asked his fellow 2020 candidates to join in him lobbying the Democratic National Committee to host a climate-centric debate (to which the DNC replied that it was still “ironing out the details” of the debates—something one might say about weekend plans to bat away a pestering acquaintance). At the very least, he’s trying.

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