Delaware Governor Jack Markell and billionaire Democratic political donor urge Democratic presidential candidates to address climate change.
Markell, D-Delaware, Gov. Jay Inslee, D-Washington, and NextGen Climate President Tom Steyer held a media conference call Tuesday morning, hours before the first Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, NV.
“For too long, climate change has been an issue that has only been talked about as an environmental issue. It’s so much more than that,” Markell said. “You see so many opportunities in terms of economic development, job creation, workforce development that can have a really positive impact in states across the country.”
Inslee expressed his frustration with past presidential debates where the topic of climate change had been sidelined and doesn’t want to see that happen again.
“We’re very interested in the candidates tonight sharing their vision about how to weave this opportunity into the fabric of their vision for economic growth generally across the United States,” Inslee said.
Steyer is a retired hedge fund billionaire who founded the San Francisco-based NextGen Climate, an environmental advocacy organization. His group, NextGen Climate Action Committee, was one of the biggest Democratic political donors, giving almost $75 million to his super PAC and others.
The purpose of the call, Steyer said, was to nudge the candidates and the debate moderators to tee up the climate change conversation.
“We’re looking not for well-meaning intentions and concern at this point, we’re actually looking for specific plans that explain how we’re going to get there and how it’s integrated into an entire program,” said Steyer, who praised both governors for showing “outstanding leadership” on the issue.
“Washington and Delaware couldn’t be further apart geographically, but together with my home state of California, they are among the states taking the lead to focus on energy as a critical component to creating good jobs in their states while addressing the climate problem.”
Delaware’s renewable energy standards call for 25 percent of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources, like solar and wind, by 2025,
“Clean energy, as these two governors have said, is the ultimate growth strategy for our economy. One that would add millions more good-paying jobs right here in the United States,” said Steyer, whose organization has asked candidates in both parties to lay out concrete plans to achieve more than 50 percent clean energy by 2030 and 100 percent completely clean energy by 2050.