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Jay Inslee, Who Led the Push for a Climate Debate, Drops out of Presidential Race
Inslee announced his exit Wednesday while speaking on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, The Guardian reported.
"It's become clear that I'm not going to be carrying the ball," Inslee said. "I'm not going to be the president, so I'm withdrawing tonight from the race."
I know you agree that our mission to defeat climate change must continue to be central to our national discussion -- and must be the top priority for our next president. But I’ve concluded that my role in that effort will not be as a candidate to be our next president. pic.twitter.com/Kp8WejuVJy— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) August 22, 2019
Inslee failed to qualify for the third Democratic primary debate in September, as well as for a climate-themed CNN town hall. Inslee had met the donor threshold for the third debate, but not the polling threshold, CNN reported.
Despite failing to qualify for the climate town hall, Inslee was the first candidate to call for a debate focused solely on the issue. He also put forward several ambitious plans to address the climate crisis. The first promised a transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. Another plan targeting the fossil fuel industry would have ended subsidies, banned drilling on public lands and made carbon polluters pay. On Wednesday, the day of his resignation, he also dropped a new plan focused on agriculture, including a commitment to invest in climate-friendly farming innovations.
"Jay Inslee entered the race with the goal of putting the climate crisis at the center of the campaign," the group wrote. "He may be leaving the race, but it's clear he and the movements who fought alongside him are succeeding in that mission."
.@JayInslee entered the race with the goal of putting the climate crisis at the center of the campaign.— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@sunrisemvmt) August 22, 2019
He may be leaving the race, but it's clear he and the movements who fought alongside him are succeeding in that mission. https://t.co/R6NUHRgLcH
David Roberts, who has covered Inslee's campaign for Vox, praised the detail of his plans, which now amount to more than 200 pages of climate policy:
The result is far more than a campaign document — it's a comprehensive governing blueprint. It takes the lofty aspirations of the Green New Deal and translates them into nuts and bolts, specifying which agencies and programs need to do what. Whichever Democratic candidate may become president, they would do well to keep a copy of Inslee's plan on their desk.
Inslee is not yet ready to say which candidate he hopes will end up in the Oval Office. He said they all needed to bolster their climate plans. But he said Wednesday that "every single one of them is 100% better than the current occupant, no question about that," CNN reported.
In an email to supporters reported by CNN, he outlined what his campaign had accomplished:
"Many of the campaigns started with little attention to climate, but since our campaign began, we've seen almost every serious candidate put out a climate plan; we've seen climate come up in both debates; and we now have two networks hosting nationally-televised climate forums in September," he said. "Most importantly, we have introduced a detailed and comprehensive policy blueprint for bold climate action and transformation to a clean energy economy. We will fight to ensure this gold standard of climate action is adopted and executed by our party and our next president."
With his presidential hopes over, Inslee is likely to announce a run for a third term as Washington's governor Thursday, two people close to him told the Associated Press.
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Poverty and violence in Central America are major factors driving migration to the United States. But there's another force that's often overlooked: climate change.
Retired Lt. Cmdr. Oliver Leighton Barrett is with the Center for Climate and Security. He says that in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, crime and poor economic conditions have long led to instability.
"And when you combine that with protracted drought," he says, "it's just a stressor that makes everything worse."
Barrett says that with crops failing, many people have fled their homes.
"These folks are leaving not because they're opportunists," he says, "but because they are in survival mode. You have people that are legitimate refugees."
So Barrett supports allocating foreign aid to programs that help people in drought-ridden areas adapt to climate change.
"There are nonprofits that are operating in those countries that have great ideas in terms of teaching farmers to use the land better, to harvest water better, to use different variety of crops that are more resilient to drought conditions," he says. "Those are the kinds of programs I think are needed."
So he says the best way to reduce the number of climate change migrants is to help people thrive in their home countries.
Reporting credit: Deborah Jian Lee / ChavoBart Digital Media.
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
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