Inslee visits colleges to urge climate action

As U.S. officials back away from climate change fight, our state will not, governor says

Gov. Jay Inslee traveled to several college campuses this month to discuss the imperative of acting on climate change.

His climate change tour stopped by Western Washington University, Green River College and Bellevue College — wrapping up today at the University of Washington. Many of his visits had a town-hall format, so the governor could take questions from the state’s climate leaders of tomorrow.

“These are the students who are going to hold the jobs we’re creating in our clean-energy economy, and these are the students who are going to work in the solar industry, in the wind-turbine industry and in the electric-car industry,” Inslee said. “They are going to help our state defeat climate change.”

Inslee’s message to college students: Climate change policy is under attack at the federal level, making state and local action more urgent and important than ever.

Gov. Jay Inslee talks about the importance of fighting climate change during a town hall earlier this month at Bellevue College. (Official Governor’s Office photo)

“President Donald Trump cannot stop Washington state from defeating climate change — not from putting a limit on carbon pollution, not from investing in clean energy projects, not from closing our last coal-fired plant and not from supporting electric vehicles or developing electric ferries,” Inslee said. “Our state is going to lead in the fight against climate change and we are going to succeed.”

This year, officials in Washington also helped launch the U.S. Climate Alliance, a group of governors from 14 states and one U.S. territory who remain committed to meeting their goals for greenhouse gas emissions outlined in the Paris climate accord. (Read about all the ways Washington has acted on climate change here.)

Inslee fielded dozens of questions and comments during his town halls, including those about energy facility proposals, endangered wildlife and how government can help people of all backgrounds and income levels make lifestyle changes that will benefit the environment.

During the discussions, Inslee explained the types of policy options he’s exploring for upcoming legislative sessions, such as pricing carbon, increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy across the state and building more infrastructure for electric cars. As the state moves forward, he added, solutions should be science-based, equitable and provide economic opportunities for citizens and the state.

The town halls lead up to Inslee’s trip next month to Bonn, Germany, where he will attend the U.N. Convention on Climate Change. There, world leaders will gather to discuss the historic Paris Agreement.

Video from the town halls at Green River College and Bellevue College are available below.