Gov. Inslee unveils first of many climate proposals for 2020

Gov. Inslee unveils first of many climate proposals for 2020
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Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeWashington county warns of at least 17 positive tests after 300-person wedding The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by UAE - US records 1 million COVID-19 cases in a week; governors crack down Washington state issues sweeping restrictions to combat coronavirus surge MORE (D) unveiled his first proposal on climate policy on Friday, saying that if elected president he will work to transition the U.S. electric grid, vehicles and buildings to run on 100 percent clean energy.

It’s the first in a series of climate-focused proposals the 2020 candidate said he intends to roll out in the coming weeks.

Inslee is basing his presidential campaign on a "climate mission" agenda to battle global warming and create jobs over the next decade.

Inslee's is the fourth climate plan to be offered by a Democrat in the White House race. The others have come from Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOn The Money: Biden to nominate Yellen for Treasury secretary | 'COVID cliff' looms | Democrats face pressure to back smaller stimulus Biden to nominate Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary: report Bottom line MORE (Mass.) and Cory BookerCory BookerSenate Democrats reelect Schumer as leader by acclamation  Hill associations push for more diversity in lawmakers' staffs Sanders celebrates Biden-Harris victory: 'Thank God democracy won out' MORE (N.J.) and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Texas). 

The new plan aims for an energy grid that would be zero emissions and zero carbon use by 2030. It also aims for all new vehicles and buildings to be emissions free by 2030.

Inslee would seek to close all coal-fired power plants in the U.S. to achieve the goal.

“It is appropriately ambitious based on scientific necessity and wistfully confident about a can-do nation that can raise our vision to be the first to build a clean energy economy," Inslee told The Hill in an interview.

Many of the specifics in the bill Inslee has mirrored in his work as Washington's governor. For example, Inslee put a plan in place to end coal-fired plant production by 2025. He's also boosted electric car infrastructure and created a clean energy fund to finance green projects. He also was a major backer of the state’s push to implement a carbon tax last year, but it ultimately failed to pass the ballot.

Inslee said the plan highlights his commitment to fixing the global climate crisis, especially in comparison to his now 21 Democratic challengers, of which many have said climate change is a top issue.

"It is a plan that I have shown a visceral commitment to. This not just in the past 72 hours but the past decade," Inslee said.

"It is the first priority and the top priority and the foremost obligation. It can’t be something you just do the first day, you have to do everyday."

As Washington's governor, Inslee put a plan in place to end coal-fired plant production by 2025.

Other tenets of the national climate plan including spurring job growth in the energy sector by investing tax dollars to deploy renewable energy, improve battery storage technology, jump-start electric vehicle manufacturing and create energy-efficient buildings.

Many parts of the plan are similar to the goals laid out in the Green New Deal, a progressive climate plan introduced in the House in February by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezBiden names John Kerry as 'climate czar' in new administration Maloney vows to overhaul a House Democratic campaign machine 'stuck in the past' Ocasio-Cortez defends Harry Styles wearing dress on Vogue cover: 'It looks wonderful' MORE (D-N.Y.).

Like the Green New Deal, Inslee compares his plan to a “moonshot” idea and ties his renewable energy goals to 2030.

O’Rourke unveiled a plan earlier this week that was criticized by Ocasio-Cortez and other backers of the Green New Deal for a lack of aggressiveness. O'Rourke's plan calls for a $5 trillion investment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Parts of Inslee’s plan also follow in the footsteps of two city climate plans recently passed in Los Angeles and New York that aim to transition buildings and vehicles to green energy use.

Climate change has surged in recent polls. A CNN survey this week found the issue was the top area of interest among likely Democratic voters.

Despite the recent saturation of climate plans circulating, Inslee promised his plan was unique. He said it was similar to the Green New Deal in some ways, but much more concrete.

"I think it's consistent with the aspirational goals of the Green New Deal and with reality and what really works," Inslee said.

"It's not based on fairy, unicorns and rainbows, but based on very concrete and legally enforceable requirements."

Inslee’s plan, however, is likely to face pushback from some environmentalists. It does not call for keeping fossil fuels entirely in the ground, nor does it rule out the use of nuclear energy.

The candidate announced his climate plan during a tour of California, which is seen as ground zero for the country’s renewable energy push and has faced a series of natural disasters that scientists have linked to climate change.