Days After Announcing Presidential Bid, Jay Inslee Stresses the 'Enormous Costs' of Climate Change

Illustration for article titled Days After Announcing Presidential Bid, Jay Inslee Stresses the Enormous Costs of Climate Change
Photo: Ted S. Warren (AP)

Washington state Governor Jay Inslee announced he’s running for president mere days ago, and he’s already going hard on the primary focus of his campaign: climate change.

Speaking with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, Inslee addressed the “huge cost to our economy, to our health, to our national security” if we as a nation do not properly work to address climate change. Asked by Stephanopoulos about what “sacrifices” Americans will have to make to combat the issue, Inslee countered with the potentially catastrophic price of doing nothing.

“If you net this out, what’s going to require sacrifices is the course of inaction,” Inslee said. “You’ve got to understand there are enormous costs of doing nothing here. It means we’re going to have more Paradise, Californias.”


Inslee is referring to the community of Paradise that was burned to the ground in the Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history. According to Cal Fire, nearly 90 deaths were linked to the devasting fire, which burned more than 153,000 acres and consumed nearly 14,000 residences and thousands of other structures. With nowhere to go and some left jobless after their employers or businesses burned to the ground, many Paradise residents were forced to take up temporary residence in a tent city in a Walmart parking lot in neighboring Chico.

“People are going to bear this burden, particularly frontline communities, marginalized communities, who are going to be flooded and burned out,” Inslee said. And he’s right. A study published last year in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One found that wildfires hit black and Native American communities especially hard. Indeed, multiple reports and studies have projected that the effects of climate change will hit poor communities the hardest.

With tackling climate change as the focus of his presidential campaign, Inslee has pledged to fight for environmental and economic justice for indigenous communities and communities of color. He also plans to create “millions of good-paying jobs” over the next decade in the clean energy sector, the embrace of which he said on This Week will present an “enormous economic advantage.”

To boot, he says he’ll do it all without accepting fossil fuel or corporate PAC money, which certainly isn’t the case for some other democratic 2020 frontrunners.


[ABC News]

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Dense non aqueous phase liquid

Climate change mitigation and adaptation needs a funding mechanism. We could soak the rich, tax oil and gas, tax CO2, or something else. Climate change is essentially environmental remediation. Environmental justice is essentially trying to get funding to remediate sites in poor areas.

So let’s take a remediation history walk, shall we:

1) Superfund (or Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act) was established to clean up uncontrolled and abandoned hazardous waste sites around 1980. More importantly it established a funding mechanism or tax to pay for sites that had no means to pay for cleanup. A tax was put on value added chemicals and materials.

2) Superfund was going to provide funding to clean up abandoned factories in cities, illegal spent solvents dumps in rural areas, 19th century mining sites, etc. Much of these areas without funding could be considered “environmental justice zones.”

2) Funding went swimmingly for awhile until republicans under Reagan started to look for ways to cut superfund taxation.

3) Superfund was called superfund because it was thought of as “a super fund for lawyers.” It was. This litigiousness put stigma on an area, as in nobody wants to live in and around a superfund site. This slowed down cleanup of sites. Sites that remained uncleaned up were those in environmental justice zones.

4) Activists pushed for environmental justice of these unattended sites as early as the late 1980s. Around this time and moving into the 1990s, congress was able to whittle away at the superfund tax.

5) Big city mayors wanted shit cleaned up, but they didn’t want neighborhoods designated as superfund sites. An alternative program called Brownfields Cleanup (or something like it) began. This is the early 1990s. Much of Pittsburgh’s old abandoned steel mills got cleaned up using a Brownfields model.

6) Brownfields model essentially is a liability to asset transfer. For example, an old abandoned factory site is a liability. A cleaned up site as an asset that can be redeveloped. The key for brownfields to work is that the cost difference of property value (uncleaned v. cleaned) pays for cleanup. This model works well in nice parts of the city. Not too well in environmental justice zones.

7) Clinton signed into law environmental justice legislation around 1994. Environmental gentrification starts.

8) Now we’re getting to the early aughts. Bush signs the Brownfields act around 2003 or so.

9) Congress successfully guts superfund taxation in 2003. The superfund trust sits at around $0.00 to this day.

10) Obama increases EPA budget greatly in 2009/2010 to get funding. After the 2010 shellacking, congress slashes EPA budget.

11) Trump slashes EPA budget.

12) The new model for environmental justice is, “squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Some squeaks get greased, some don’t. It depends on likes.

The end of history...

We should have oil and gas taxed from wellhead to end use to transfer us into a green economy. It’s working for Norway and North Dakota.

This shit costs money, whether it is environmental cleanup or climate change mitigation or adaptation. Real money.