In lieu of a climate-centered debate — the same 10 candidates who will be appearing at the third Democratic primary debate hosted by ABC came together to discuss their stance on combating climate change and face the voters directly on Wednesday night.
Interested in Democratic Party?
Add Democratic Party as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Democratic Party news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
It marked the first ever prime-time televised event on CNN devoted completely to climate change during a presidential campaign with the candidates vowing to dissolve Trump’s environmental policies, pledge trillions of dollars toward clean energy, and ensure that good stewardship of the planet would be handed to future generations.
Perhaps most notable among these candidates was the constant mention of the former “Climate Candidate” himself, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Senator Kamala Harris D-Calif., Sen.Amy Klobuchar D-Minn., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren D-Mass. all gave Inslee shout outs — citing him as a way to position themselves as the successor to the leading the way on the prescient issue of climate change.
(MORE: 7 climate change buzzwords you need to know to follow the 2020 campaigns)
Erin Schaff/The New York Times via Redux, FILE
Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington speaks during the second night of Democratic presidential debates in Detroit, July 31, 2019.
Castro didn’t wait long. He kicked off the evening with a thank you to CNN for hosting the forum followed by a thank you to Inslee for his work on the issue of climate change saying he “did a fantastic job of bringing this issue to the forefront of this campaign.”
Candidates praised Inslee’s legacy on climate change; when Klobuchar name-dropped Inslee during her time on stage, she referenced the “individual efforts like Governor Inslee talked about so well,” such as washing clothes in cold water to save energy – measures the governor has not emphasized in his plan.
Inslee’s 100% Clean Energy plan addresses retrofitting building infrastructures in a number of ways to get them green, including zero-emission appliances – which he himself has criticized as “half measure” approaches.
Jared Leopold, senior communications adviser to Inslee, told ABC News that “individual choices are not part of Inslee’s climate plan” but “they appreciate the praise for his mission.”
It marks a new chapter as Inslee is now out of the race and it is a transitional moment for the candidates still battling it out for the White House.
(MORE: Scientists: Time running short before climate change effects are ‘irreversible’)
For the first time ever, Harris came out in support of eliminating the filibuster — something Inslee had been extremely vocal on. Harris not only name-dropped Inslee, she addressed Inslee himself using his own line:
“I’m going to steal a line from Governor Inslee, Governor Inslee, I’m stealing your line — and said, you know, Donald Trump says wind turbines cause cancer, and Jay Inslee famously and very with great humor said, no, they don’t cause cancer, they cause jobs. Right?”
Warren hat-tipped Inslee twice when she talked about getting “tough” on carbon, and proudly noting that she had adopted many of Inslee’s “open source” ideas in her own climate plans — the latest of which she announced on the eve of the CNN town hall and naming Inslee on the plan’s front page.