Inslee to Biden: 'Middling' climate plan 'not going to save us'

Inslee to Biden: 'Middling' climate plan 'not going to save us'
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Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeO'Rourke ends presidential bid Sunrise Movement organizer: Sanders, Warren boast strongest climate change plans Overnight Energy: Farmers say EPA reneged on ethanol deal | EPA scrubs senators' quotes from controversial ethanol announcement | Perry unsure if he'll comply with subpoena | John Kerry criticizes lack of climate talk at debate MORE clashed with Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocrats face make-or-break moment on impeachment Here are the key players to watch at impeachment hearing George Kent: What you need to know MORE during the Democratic presidential primary debate Wednesday over the former vice president’s climate policy, which he called “middling” and insufficient for the crisis at hand.

“Middle ground solutions like the vice president has proposed, or sort of middling, average-sized things are not going to save us. Too little, too late is not going to save us,” said Inslee, who has focused the majority of his campaign on the issue of climate change.

The debate, which hit on the topic of climate change more than an hour and half in, launched a back-and-forth between Inslee and the current Democratic front-runner.

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“Mr. Vice President, your argument is not with me, it’s with science. And your plan is just too late,” Inslee said of Biden’s climate action plan he unveiled months earlier.

“We have to get off coal in 10 years, your plan does not do that. We have to get off fossil fuels in 15 years, your plan doesn’t do that.”

Biden defended his plan, saying it calls for “immediate action to be taken.”

Among the proposals in his policy, Biden said he’d rejoin and “up the ante” on the United States' commitment to the Paris climate accord and invest $500,000 in new charging stations around the country “so by 2030 we are all on electric vehicles.”

He added that he’d invest $400 billion dollars in new alternative energy sources to deal with climate change — saying that’s bigger than any other candidate running.

But Biden pushed back on the fast-paced approach to climate action championed by climate activists and Inslee alike.

“We also have to engage the world while we are doing it,” said Biden. “We have to walk and chew gum at the same time.”

Asked by moderators if he will lead the country in moving away from coal- and fracking-based energy, Biden said he’d “work it out” and get rid of subsidies for either market.

Inslee, who is currently polling at less than 1 percent, shot back directly at the line, telling Biden, “We cannot work it out. The house is on fire.”

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisOutsider candidates outpoll insider candidates Poll: Buttigieg leads Democratic field in Iowa Press: Another billionaire need not apply MORE (D-Calif.) echoed Inslee's comments, at one time saying she was paraphrasing the Washington governor in her thoughts that Trump is "pushing science fiction instead of science fact."

She added that the country must adopt a Green New Deal, an economic based climate action plan she has backed in the Senate and is popular with many progressive voters.