Inslee: Yes. President Trump's attempt to leave the Paris Agreement was one of the most shameful decisions of a shameful presidency. America can and should be a leader in the global fight against climate change. As president, I will recommit to the Paris accord and work on Day 1 to undo Donald Trump's attacks on international climate progress. We are ready: I am proud to say that within hours of Trump's announcement that he intended to pull the U.S. out of the agreement, I co-founded the U.S. Climate Alliance--a bipartisan coalition of states that are committed to upholding America's contributions to that pact. This alliance now consists of 22 states and Puerto Rico that together comprise over half of America's population and its economy.
Inslee: A carbon price is one way to help hold polluters accountable for the harmful health and environmental impacts they continue to cause in our communities. But in our state efforts involving a carbon tax, we have found the vast amount of carbon savings came from investments, and there are many ways to fund those, including rolling back the Trump tax cuts and ending subsidies for fossil-fuel companies. And while a carbon price need not be the primary mechanism through which large-scale greenhouse gas pollution reductions are achieved, it may be a complementary policy that provides a price signal to help shift investment away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy.
Inslee: We must move to a carbon-free power sector, so I would not take any zero-emission sources of power generation off the table. But my focus would be first and foremost on investing in the expansion of renewables, efficiency, smart grid and energy storage technologies. We should continue to explore next-generation advanced nuclear technologies. But safety is of paramount importance, as is a stable long-term plan for dealing with waste. And new nuclear plants have also proven to be very costly, so we must not allow utilities and corporate project-developers to stick ratepayers with any expensive cost overruns associated with such projects.
Inslee: Yes, we must dramatically increase federal investment for research and development into clean energy technologies and climate solutions. Fortunately, today we already have so many of the technologies we need to defeat climate change--we simply have to put them to work.
The federal government has a critical role in play in catalyzing new clean-tech innovations, and in helping bring them to market. Increased federal R&D investment must be part of a successful climate agenda--and it must be focused on a range of technologies, from next-generation renewables and energy storage, to the capture and removal from the air of greenhouse gas pollution.
This unprecedented public investment we will make will unleash even greater private sector investment, giving the right price signals to entrepreneurs and small businesses to succeed in this new clean energy economy.
The above quotations are from 2019 "Meet the Candidates" presidential series on NYTimes.com.
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