Democratic candidate rolls out ambitious climate change plan

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 18: Democratic presidential candidate and Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D-WA) (CENTER L) tours the LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI) with Michael Swords, LACI Vice President Government Affairs and International Relations, on April 18, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Inslee is the only presidential candidate making a clean energy economy a cornerstone of his campaign. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A second Democratic presidential candidate has rolled out an ambitious plan to address climate change. Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who is polling at less than one percent in a recent CNN poll, rolled out a plan that calls for Congress to mandate “all clean, renewable and zero-admission energy in electric generation by 2035.” Inslee’s proposal also calls for zero greenhouse gas emissions in new vehicles and enact new construction codes for new buildings to have zero emissions. Inslee also wants to shut down every coal-fired power plant.

Democratic voters have consistently said climate change is the most important issue the country faces, and Inslee’s plan is one of the most sweeping announced by any candidate. Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke announced a plan earlier this week to zero out carbon emissions by 2050 and spend five trillion dollars to develop clean energy technology. Senator Elizabeth Warren called for a ban on drilling in federally-owned lands and a great reliance on solar and wind energy. Other candidates have embraced the so-called “Green New Deal,” which is broad on goals but short on specifics.

Inslee told New Hampshire Public Radio that climate change must be the number one priority. “If it is not job one, it won’t get done. And we need to make it the first and foremost priority of the next president,” he said.

Climate change has become increasingly important among all voters, not just Democrats. A Yale university survey last August showed 70% of Americans believe climate change is real, although it still tanks behind health care and the economy for a majority of American voters.

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