Democratic presidential hopeful and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants climate change to have more than a mere moment in the 2020 election — he wants the issue to have its own full debate.
“We have nearly run out of time to act on climate change,” Inslee argued, pointing out that there were no questions in the 2016 general election debates on climate change.
“The next president must make defeating climate change the number one priority of the United States and must have detailed plans to take immediate action,” he wrote. “Democratic voters deserve to get beyond talking points and hear real, in-depth plans on climate change.”
The DNC announced there will be 12 Democratic primary debates between this month and April 2020. So far, there are 23 Democrats in the race, and 21 have met the DNC’s criteria to appear on stage in the first debate, scheduled for June 26 and 27. Inslee is among them.
Most Democratic candidates have addressed climate change in their campaigns so far, some pushing action such as the Green New Deal, while others have inserted their own unique ideas, such as former Rep. John Delaney‘s (D-Md.) Climate Corps proposal.
Inslee, however, has clearly made climate change the number one issue of his campaign since the day it launched.
“I’m running for president because I’m the only candidate who will make defeating climate change our nation’s number one priority,” Inslee said in this campaign announcement video back in March.
Inslee previously pleaded with the DNC to get a climate debate by creating a petition through his campaign website in April. But the DNC has not addressed the proposal and instead announced newer, more difficult polling and fundraising qualifications for candidates for the later debates.
Inslee wrote in the letter:
The Democratic Party’s response to climate change cannot only be a few quick questions in the first debates where, in 60 seconds, candidates merely agree that this issue is important, and move on. We need a full debate to really wrestle with who has the best plans to defeat this existential crisis, who has demonstrated the commitment it will take to get this job done, and who understands the scale of ambition necessary to see this mission through to completion.
Inslee said he wants an answer from Perez and the DNC by next week.