Two new candidates for president have made their stance clear: Climate change is the biggest threat we face.
John Hickenlooper, a former geologist and governor of Colorado, kicked off his campaign intro video with a frank discussion of the immediacy of climate disasters already affecting his state. Jay Inslee, the current governor of Washington, is essentially a single-issue candidate, mentioning the phrase “climate change” nine times in the first 30 seconds of his kickoff video.
As climate leaders, both have obvious faults: Inslee’s tenure in Washington has been marred by high-profile failures to put a price on carbon in the greenest of states, and Hickenlooper was employed by the oil and gas industry for years, occasionally deferring to them once he held political power. Neither have made a full-throated endorsement of the Green New Deal.
But at least they’re talking about climate now, front and center, staking their reputations and careers on leading with the most important problem human civilization faces. Both are currently polling at 1 percent (or less) among Democratic voters, far behind much better-known candidates and potential nominees like former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders.
Still, even if neither Inslee nor Hickenlooper become president, their candidacies are already important and empowering as guides for how to be green leaders in troubled times. In our deeply polarized political climate, it’s exciting to have candidates who are for something, instead of just being against Trump.