Jay Inslee endorses Biden after conversations on climate change

Jay Inslee endorses Biden after conversations on climate change
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Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert Inslee Washington state extends eviction protections through end of October Washington governor to Idaho officials: Stop 'clogging up my hospitals' Seattle area to require COVID-19 vaccine to enter indoor venues MORE (D), who centered his short-lived 2020 presidential campaign around climate change, said Wednesday that he would endorse former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPelosi sets Thursday vote on bipartisan infrastructure bill Pressure grows to cut diplomatic red tape for Afghans left behind President Biden is making the world a more dangerous place MORE's White House bid after receiving assurances that the issue would be a major focus of a Biden administration. 

“I am convinced, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that this will be a major driving force of his administration," Inslee told The New York Times in an interview published on Wednesday. “I think what you’re going to see is an increased commitment to some shorter-term actions, and he’s been very open to that.”

Inslee echoed those comments Wednesday while appearing on “Here’s the Deal,” a new podcast broadcast by Biden's campaign. In an interview with the presumptive Democratic nominee, Inslee said he couldn't wait to have an "optimist" back in the White House. 
 
"Somebody who really believes in the American vision of growing your economy by getting out ahead and leading the world in technology," he said, noting that he is confident Biden would have a concrete strategy to develop a clean energy plan within the next 10 years. 
 
Biden acknowledged during the episode that he'd called Inslee many times for his opinion on matters related to policy on climate change. Citing the conversations, Biden said that he felt the U.S. could soon become a leader in wind energy while also becoming a top producer of green jobs worldwide. 
An Inslee nod carries weight. His more than 200 page climate plan was considered the gold standard by climate activists, outranking Biden's proposal in the eyes of many environmental groups. Inslee's original proposal exceeded timetables for climate pollution reductions under the Paris Agreement, achieving a 50 percent reduction in emissions by 2030, and net-zero emissions by no later than 2045.
 
The Biden campaign had been under increasing pressure to embrace bolder plans, and just Monday, Biden said he would heed those calls.  
 
"In the months ahead, expanding this plan will be one of my key objectives,” Biden said in a statement while accepting an endorsement from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Action Fund.

“I have asked my campaign to commence a process to meaningfully engage with more voices from the climate movement,” he added.
 
Inslee offered his endorsement just days after former campaign staffers sent an updated climate proposal to congressional Democrats and the Biden campaign. The proposal includes calls for transitioning to 100 percent clean electricity by 2035 and slashing subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.
 
Inslee has gained a prominent profile as he leads efforts in his state to address the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The governor has repeatedly taken aim at President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE over his response to the pandemic. Earlier this week, he accused the president of urging “insubordination” and “illegal activity” by voicing support for protests against stay-at-home orders. 
 
Inslee addressed the parallels between the climate crisis and the coronavirus outbreak in his interview with Biden, stating at one point that the former vice president would bring "honesty" to his role in the White House, "which we don't have right now."