Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday rolled out a plan aimed at putting climate change at the center of U.S. foreign policy, saying the United States needs to take the lead if the rest of the world is to make meaningful progress on the issue.
“We have to adopt a foreign policy apparatus, goals, prioritization, strategy and relationships that [are] totally committed to this effort,” Mr. Inslee, a 2020 presidential candidate, said in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
“I believe that defeating climate change must become the organizing principle of our entire foreign policy thought process,” he said.
Mr. Inslee said he wants to rejoin the Paris climate agreement, though he called the agreement itself “woefully inadequate to the science.”
“The science demands us to accelerate our efforts dramatically to get this job done,” he said.
Mr. Inslee wants the U.S. to commit to a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030 and get more countries to follow the United States’ lead. He also wants to join a group of governments and organizations that are aiming to cut coal plant pollution by 2030.
“There is no way that you can convince your neighbor to mow their grass if it bugs you that their grass is too long until you mow your own,” he said. “While we live under the shadow of Donald Trump, it debilitates our ability to lead.”
President Trump said in a new interview with Piers Morgan for ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” that there are changes in “weather” and that it goes “both ways.”
“If you want to know why some people still deny climate change, well the president of the United States is telling them to deny climate change — it’s not really their fault,” Mr. Inslee said.
The governor also wants to factor in climate change’s effects on immigration, in line with his recent immigration plan that aims to boost the number of refugees who are allowed to enter the U.S. and condition trade deals on countries’ commitments to meet the standards of the Paris agreement.
Mr. Inslee would also double the U.S. commitment to a green climate fund, prioritize investments in “clean” energy solutions in developing nations and cut subsidies for fossil fuels.
He said China is taking steps to reduce carbon emissions domestically but that they’re still exporting coal around the globe.
“We have to use every single policy available to re-engage China to stop those investments on [an] international level, which is every bit as dangerous,” he said.
Mr. Inslee’s plan would also use U.S. anti-corruption laws to impose “consequences” for undermining international cooperation on the effort.
It’s the latest plank in his broader agenda on climate change, which is the centerpiece issue of his campaign. Mr. Inslee had earlier rolled out clean energy and economic plans centered on addressing climate change.