Extreme Temperature Diary- January 2nd, 2019/ Topic: Winning The U.S. Presidency On Climate Change

Wednesday January 2nd… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing post will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials)😊. 

Winning The U.S. Presidency On Climate Change

For most of 2018 I thought that after the United States House of Representatives turns Democratic 2019 would be very contentious full of hearings on Trump and any of his misdeeds. Trump may or may not survive the year, but what then? During the 2020 election will climate change be enough of an issue outside the usual pocket book items such as health care for a Democrat to win? This morning I saw an Atlantic article, which I feel is eye opening enough for me to reprint an excerpt, suggesting that one new candidate (announced today) will be running mainly on this one topic: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/analysis-can-a-democrat-win-the-presidency-on-climate-change/ar-BBRHBUo?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=U506DHP

OLYMPIA, Wash.—What if a meteor were hurtling toward the Earth, about to kill millions and reshape life on the planet as we know it? 

And what if the president, instead of doing anything to help, made it worse in just about every way, and called it a hoax (and any solutions a scam) instead of the very real, very clear disaster taking shape? 

And what if all the Democrats running to beat him in the next election went on and on about how concerned they were and how it’s our most pressing problem—but none had ever done much more than talk about the problem, and for the most part only started doing that in just the past few years?

That’s where Jay Inslee thinks America is when it comes to climate change. And that’s why he’s going to run for president. The question is whether he can convince anyone else that he’s a big-enough player to be a serious candidate. 

“When you’ve been working on something for over a decade, and now seeing people awakening to that, it’s just really gratifying and heartening,” the Washington governor recently told me, sitting in his private study on the top floor of the governor’s mansion. When it comes to climate change, there now appears to be “an appetite for someone who has credibility and a long track record and, most importantly, a vision statement. It’s changed to show an opening in a Democratic primary, I believe.”

 Inslee has been on the expansive list of would-be Democratic presidential contenders since the 2016 election, mostly because he was then one of the few Democratic governors left in the country. He didn’t take the talk seriously at first, nor did anyone else, and he certainly wasn’t doing anything to help it along. But as the 2018 midterm campaigns came to an end, he read through searing international and federal climate-change assessments, took a trip to view the wildfire damage in California, and thought through the larger moment for the country — and he shifted. 

Now “we’re laying the groundwork that would make this a feasible thing in the relatively short term,” Inslee told me. 

If there is a new Democratic president come 2021, he or she will get pulled in all sorts of policy directions. Inslee says he has one priority: global warming. It’s not theoretical, or a cause just for tree huggers anymore. Putting off dealing with it for a year or two or kicking it to some new bipartisan commission won’t work, he says. He plans to focus on the threat that climate change poses to the environment and national security — the mega-storms and fires causing millions in damages, the weather changes that will cause mass migrations, the droughts that will devastate farmers in America and around the world. 

Even more so, he wants to talk about the risk to American opportunity. “We have two existential threats right now: one is to our natural systems, and one is to our economic systems,” he said. 

As he did in Washington State, Inslee would propose a mix of government investments and incentives to spur other investment, restrictions on power plants and emissions, and programs to promote R&D and job growth. An endless number of jobs can be created in the climate arena, Inslee says. It’s the way to make a real dent in income inequality and have the Democratic Party bring tangible solutions to communities in rural America that have been left behind. With his inaction, President Donald Trump — Inslee calls him “the commander in chief of delusion” — is engaged in a “disgusting selling-out of the country,” a “crime” against the aspirational optimism of America. 

Inslee is lining up donors and adding them to the political-action committee he launched in December. An official presidential exploratory committee is next. Aides note that he’s attracted new supporters and fans after serving as the Democratic Governors Association chair last year. With Inslee at the helm, Democrats in November picked up seven governorships. He’s put together an email list of 200,000 climate advocates, which could become a beachhead of support around the country. Friends have offered to move to Iowa for him. 

His campaign, such as it is, seems a lot more seat-of-the-pants than the machines Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris have slowly assembled. For now, he seems to be counting on being able to stand out on his record — and preparing for future battles with Trump by testing out zingers like “I wish nothing but the best for Donald Trump, including having the top bunk.” 

Inslee has been in politics for 30 years. He started off in the Washington State legislature and served for more than a decade in Congress. He was elected governor in 2012 and has, without much national notice, pursued arguably the most progressive and greenest agenda in the country, with fields of solar panels, fleets of electric buses, and massive job growth to show for it. And years before anyone was tweeting about the “Green New Deal,” Inslee wrote a climate-change book while he was in Congress: Apollo’s Fire, a 2007 blueprint for how much economic and entrepreneurial opportunity there is in saving the planet. 

Other Democrats are, suddenly, talking about climate change. Bernie Sanders prioritizes it in all his speeches, and a few weeks ago he held a “national town hall” on what he called “the great crisis facing our planet, facing humanity.” Michael Bloomberg used a screening of a documentary on clean-energy alternatives as the feint for a trip to Iowa last month, and says he’ll push candidates to develop climate-change plans. Booker, Harris, and Warren have all voted in the Senate on progressive environmental bills, and Tom Steyer has written huge checks to many green causes.

[Read: 10 new factors that will shape the 2020 Democratic primary]

Inslee is the only one who has actually run a government that has made climate-change policy central. He points to the towns in Washington that have become solar-cell farms, among other accomplishments. There’s also his plan to expand the use of electric ferries. “Without having a vision and having a sense of what could be, we would not be launching that effort right now,” says Brian Bonlender, the outgoing director of the state commerce department and Inslee’s longest-serving aide. “As a country, we’re certainly not going to be able to do it if we’re hiding from facts from the world around us.” 

A poll from September caught the governor’s eye. Among the qualities that 500 Iowa caucus-goers said they were looking for in a candidate, “someone who will reestablish America’s leadership in the fight against climate change” scored highest. True, Inslee wasn’t listed among the 13 possible candidates they could choose from in the poll. But he sees good news anyway. This is like gay marriage, he figures: America is at a tipping point. Things are about to change. And voters will be looking for leaders who were already out front on the issue.

 “Forty years ago, it was not easy to get people’s sustained attention for this looming crisis. It’s much easier now,” says former Vice President Al Gore, who spent years getting made fun of for talking about global warming. 

Gore and Inslee met on the House basketball court in the early 1990s and have stayed in touch. Recently, they’ve been checking in with each other on the phone and talking about plans for the future. “He’s demonstrated leadership on this issue for a long time, both in the Congress and as a successful governor,” Gore told me. “He’s written about it, he’s spoken about it, he’s legislated about it, he’s made bold proposals.” 

Gore said he won’t be endorsing a candidate in 2020. But he is eager to see Inslee’s candidacy and how it will boost the conversation about climate change. 

“This election in 2020 is almost certainly going to be different from any previous presidential election in that a number of candidates will be placing climate at or near the top of their agenda,” Gore said. “I think that by the time the first primary and caucus votes are cast a year from now, you’re going to see a very different political dialogue in the U.S.”

 Inslee wants to be the climate guy. But some of the people around him worry that if he is actually going to do this, he can’t be only the climate guy — written off as an issue candidate who’s not a serious contender to be president. In a field this big, with candidates running hard against Trump, the rest of the field could try to pigeonhole him as a flake who’s not really part of the top tier.

Well if Jay Inslee wants to be “The Climate Guy” who am I to stand in his way?😉 All kidding aside I am very pleased, so far, with the number of potential democratic candidates who are putting climate on the front burner of issues rather than listing the issue near dead last on priorities. Two of the front runner, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have promised a “Green New Deal” for the U.S., which should include concepts from this “Green Marshall Plan:”


Please read this essay carefully.

If a candidate strays too far away from either the Green New Deal or Green Marshall Plan don’t support them. It will be very interesting to see how far up the old proverbial totem pole the issue of climate gets among the Democrat candidates during 2019. Watch burgeoning stump speeches to see when each candidate brings climate up. Nearly all will, but will they mention climate first during interviews, also? Tell tale signs will show which candidate to support after this contentious year is done and we move into the 2020s, the decade that will seal the fate of humanity, just being real here, not hyperbolic.



Here is some other weather and climate news from Wednesday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have  put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity.)

(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.) 

The Climate Guy

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