The ongoing natural disasters that are ravaging both the western and gulf coasts of the United States should serve as a dire warning to the world about the consequences of climate change, especially with a “climate denier in the White House,” according to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
Inslee said that the damage being done by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, along with wildfires in the western US, are evidence that “we are seeing, in real time, a slow-motion disaster movie that we are now living through that is not hypothetical.”
Inslee, a former member of Congress and longtime advocate for action on climate change, made his dire prediction to David Axelrod on an episode of “The Axe Files,” a podcast produced by University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.
Inslee argued that it was “likely” and “fair” that global warming increased the strength of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which broke records for rainfall and windspeed, respectively.
Inslee similarly pointed to climate change as the kindling for recent wildfires in his state, which brought “a shower of ash” to Seattle that covered the roofs of cars throughout the city, while also prompting hazardous air quality warnings and evacuations across the state.
He said the sequence of events was especially troubling given President Donald Trump’s position on the of global warming, calling him a “climate denier.”
Inslee also had harsh criticism for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, saying that he “can’t think of a positive thing to say that that the EPA has done to help,” though he acknowledged Pruitt had not yet taken steps that would have directly harmed Washington state.
Inslee went further and accused Pruitt of being “part of the cabal that refused to join,” with the nations of the world in remaining as a supporter of the Paris agreement on climate change.
Inslee then sharpened his critique of Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, saying that he “couldn’t think of anything more sort of backward-leaning, and I can’t think of sort of a more un-American thing.”
“We’re one of the most economically rich countries in the world and yet to be at the very back the caboose — not even on the caboose — of the international train is an international embarrassment and an environmental disaster in the making if we don’t reverse this course,” said Inslee, also invoking the history of US leadership against fascism and communism in his effort to emphasize the consequences of failing to address climate change.
While Inslee said that he believed that the Democratic Party needed a candidate who would “make climate change front and center, a foundational priority for the United States,” during the 2020 Presidential election, he was coy about whether he was interested in running for the job himself, saying that it was “just too early to think about this.”