Jay Inslee says climate change should be America's 'number one priority'

The Washington governor explains why he's running for president and shares his views on the Green New Deal.
8:26 | 03/04/19

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Transcript for Jay Inslee says climate change should be America's 'number one priority'
try new Clean Freak from Mr. Clean. To feel the sting of climate change, and we're the last that can do something about it. I'm Jay inslee and I'm running for president because I'm the only candidate who will make defeating climate change our nation's number one priority. We can do this. Join our movement. This is our moment. That's Washington state governor Jay inslee announcing he's the latest Democrat looking to take back the white house from Donald Trump. He's making climate change a focal point of his campaign, but given how ugly the last election was, how's he going to handle the political climate he's about to step into? Let's find out. Please welcome governor Jay inslee. Thank you. Thank you. They agree with you. I mean, a lot of -- I appreciate that you're doing this because that's my number one issue and I really am happy that you're doing it but how are you going to differentiate yourself from the rest of the Democrats? I'm going to get joy in the white house so we can have a climate change president. This is really simple. I've had a lot of success in our state. We've got the best economy in our country, great paid family leave. We've had the biggest educational funding increase, legalized marijuana, a lot of success, but the reason fundamentally I'm running is because we need a president who will say this, America is going to defeat climate change. It is our destiny and we will do this. And I'm convinced of this. But to do this, we have to have a leader who will say fundamentally and unequivocally that this is the number one priority in the United States. It has to be because of the nature of this challenge. This is the greatest peril we have but also the greatest promise. I went to paradise, California a couple months ago and saw a town of 20,000 people that looked like Europe after the damage. It demands the united nations to confront this. I'm a child of the '60s and I remember when John Kennedy said we're going to the moon. That ignited the country to a new mission statement and I believe this is a new mission statement that's going to grow jobs all over the United States. That's why I'm running. Joy, this is her number one issue. I think everyone in this room cares about the air we breathe -- Why say it's my -- if we can't breathe what's the point of having a good economy. For a lot of people it's still the economy. I'm here listening to this and wondering, do you really want to win or are you trying to get attention for this one issue. Donald Trump knows how to get people riled up. He gets headlines and the media is always talking about him. Climate change is not the number one issue for a lot of people. What I want most in life is to defeat Donald Trump. Here's how we're going to do this. Your comment was very interesting. Climate change is an economic growth engine. It is an ability to grow jobs. Today clean energy jobs in the United States are growing twice as fast as the U.S. Economy. The number one job creation rate today is in solar panel installers. The number two is in wind turbine technology. When Donald Trump said we're not going to have toasters and TVs without wind power, that's in my state we have a $6 billion wind turbine industry and when I turn on "The view" in the morning, it always comes on. It works really, really well. So he is just such a pessimist and a narrow-minded thinker. He needs to get with the rest of Americans and understand that a country that sent a man to the moon can develop a clean energy economy. That's what we can do. I fundamentally believe it. My message -- Don't you need more than that if you're running as your main platform if you're going to run against a president trump? Yes. We're going to talk about economic growth and I co-authored a book about this ten years ago. I helped do the U.S. Climate alliance. I've been at this for about two decades but I want to talk about the fact that this is a health issue. In the state of Washington we had to shut down public pools because the forests were all burning and our kids could not breathe. We're better than that. This is a national security measure, issue. Trump will not listen to his generals. I have, and I've talked to intelligence officials. This is a national security threat because it's going to drive mass migrations that destabilize governments around the world. This is not just an environmental issue. This is an issue that touching everything we hold dear. I take this personally. I got three grandkids. I've officially designated them the cutest kids in Washington. I am dedicated that those kids do not live in a degraded world. That's my commitment and I'm going to get up every day making sure they get that. All right. Maybe I am just a unicorn from another planet but climate change doesn't even hit my top 30 of how I vote for somebody, so I do think I am on this panel to say it isn't what's selling me on you beating trump. And I say that with respect. What's also not selling me on beating trump is the new green deal which all of the 2020 contenders have endorsed. It would cost $93 trillion for to every person in this room, $600,000 for every one of your do you think that's practical or have you endorsed or have another option? When I hear that an average American is going to have to spend $600,000 for a new green deal, you can understand how people like me don't think that's logical. Well, this is a lot like the death panels. You heard about Obamacare, we don't have death panels or a $600,000 cost. This has been helpful in our discussion in a variety of ways. Number one, we're talking about climate change. That is of value -- Can you give an example to the average person in here how they can help where it doesn't sound so irrational. We're talking about $51 trillion, the elimination of planes, the elimination of cows, a railway, no planes. I guess nobody can go to Hawaii anymore. It doesn't sound rational to me. It doesn't sound rational because we are not going to eliminate cars. We are not going to eliminate trains. We're going to have what I have in my driveway today which is a blue GM bolt made in Michigan with American workers. That's what we're going to have. We're going to have televisions powered by solar and wind energy. We're going to have potentially ways to fly airplanes on biofuels. We have flown a Boeing 737 across the atlantic ocean and biofuel is developed in my state. When we think about our opportunities here, we can't be so narrow-minded. Look, I grew up in the time of rotary phones and now we got cell phones. We are going to have the greatest transformation of our economy if we unleash this potential. Can I interject. I understand you're talking the talk and walking the walk but a lot of advocates don't. Alexandria ocasio-cortez's campaign spent $30,000 on 1,050 Uber rides. Al gore's home electricity was 20 times the national average even after a green overhaul. Leonardo Dicaprio flies on private jets, including to accept an environmental award in 2016. None of this adds up to me. He said that wasn't really That's what's proposed on the new green deal. Actually, that is not what's proposed. Let's get this straight. That is not proposed. I want to be real straight about this. I guess, governor, you've got no problems with voters again. We don't. I have to cut you off. I hate to do it to you but we have a time restriction here. So I have to say thank you very much. You are walking the walk and talking the talk and I'm right there with you. Thanks to governor Jay inslee.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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