03:41 - Source: CNN
Inslee presidential campaign built around climate change
CNN —  

Democratic presidential candidate Jay Inslee released a plan on Wednesday that looks to reimagine American foreign policy to combat climate change.

Inslee squarely targets President Donald Trump’s foreign policy with the plan, charging the President with choosing “a cowardly path of ignorance” by “withdrawing America from the global climate community as the world hurtles toward the brink of irreversible climate disaster.”

“We must adopt a new, aggressive international climate agenda – using all tools available in diplomacy, international finance, trade, aid, and assistance,” Inslee told CNN. “We need to recommit to Paris with strengthened goals, pledging immediately to cut 50% of our domestic climate pollution by 2030 and taking action to get there. At the same time we must lead a global transition off of fossil fuels, and fundamentally shift American foreign and trade policy to help drive ambitious climate action around the world.”

The plan rests on five tenants:

  • Rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, a 195-nation sweeping agreement to combat climate change that Trump opted to leave in 2017, fulfilling a campaign promise.
  • Studying climate migration, reversing a Trump administration to remove protections for refugees from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua, and pledging to increase the number of refugees resettled by the United States.
  • Including enforceable climate standards for all new US trade agreements, “including conditioning trade deals on countries’ commitment to robust implementation of the Paris Agreement” and increasing barriers for the trade of fossil fuels.
  • Doubling the US investment in the Global Climate Fund to help the proliferation of green technology.
  • Working to make substantial cuts to fossil fuel subsidies, and “implementing widespread prohibitions against financing for fossil fuel projects overseas.”

The plan – titled the “Global Climate Mobilization” – is the third policy roll out from Inslee’s campaign that aims to link a range of issues to climate change, the issue that Inslee is staking his entire campaign on.

Inslee, in early May, rolled out a sweeping plan aimed at combating climate change that, if enacted, would mean a wholesale change to the way the United States builds buildings, manufactures cars and supplies the power grid and includes a proposal to cut US coal production by 2030. And later that month Inslee unveiled a jobs plan that promises the creation of 8 million jobs over the next 10 years with a laser-like focus on combating climate change.

Inslee’s plan would also see the United States join the Powering Past Coal Alliance, which would commit the country to phasing out coal power plants by 2030, something Inslee promised in an earlier policy rollout.

The Washington governor has staked his entire 2020 campaign on climate change and launched his bid pledging to make the issue – which he argues affects “every issue” facing the country – his focus as president.

Inslee will continue that focus on Wednesday with a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York to unveil the new plan.

Inslee argues in his new plan that the “question of whether the international community responds effectively to this challenge is one that will impact every American and will determine the lives, health and welfare of billions of people on Earth.”

And Inslee’s prescription is that the best way to do tackle this issue is by ousting Trump.

“Trump has chosen a cowardly path of ignorance, withdrawing America from the global climate community as the world hurtles toward the brink of irreversible climate disaster,” Inslee says in his plan. “Trump has built a foreign policy based on isolationism and xenophobia. And through his friendships with dictators, has deliberately sabotaged America’s domestic climate progress, and effectively handed US climate policy over to polluters and fossil fuel executives.”

Inslee’s bet on climate change as a premier issue in the 2020 election could be a good one.

Democratic candidates are often asked about the issue on the campaign trail, a signal that the issue is top of mind for active Democratic voters. And a recent CNN poll found that 82% of Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents find climate change a “very important” issue, ranking it at the top of the list ahead of universal health care, tighter gun laws and impeaching Trump.