Washington Gov. Jay Inslee joined thousands of other world leaders today in Paris for a climate change summit. But KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson wants to know, if global warming is truly such a big concern, why didn’t Inslee and other world leaders just stay home?
“Obama has said, Jay Inslee has said, climate change is the gravest threat to our planet,” Dori said. “If they truly believe that, why would they not just visit Paris via Skype?”
Leaders of 150 nations, along with 40,000 delegates from 195 countries, are attending the COP21 conference, an annual forum aimed at tackling climate change on a global and political level. The primary mission of the leaders is to create a legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that would hold global average temperatures short of a 2-degrees Celsius increase over pre-industrial global temperatures.
Inslee told The Seattle Times that he traveled to Paris to combat “the scourge” of climate change, having made a statewide campaign to reduce greenhouse gasses one of the central themes of his administration. Inslee said he would spending most of his time at meetings, talking about Washington’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions, learn what’s happening around the globe and check-in with companies interested in doing business in the state, according to The Times.
Dori believes the leaders must be blowing the threat out of proportion, otherwise they wouldn’t be adding to the emissions problem of flying from all over the world for this meeting.
“If Obama really thinks climate change is the gravest threat, he’ll put a golf simulator in the White House, at his own expense, instead of flying Air force One to Florida or Palm Springs, if he really believes that,” he said. “If he’s lying, and all of these people are lying, then you can expect that they would hop on a plane at the first opportunity and burn more fossil fuels than a third-world family does in years of living and save the planet. But they don’t really believe in this mission, because they wouldn’t go if they did. They’d find another way to gather in a more environmentally friendly way.”
More than two dozen other Washingtonians joined Inslee in Paris, The Times reports, including Jay Manning, who chairs the Washington Environmental Council and Seattle City Council member Mike O’Brien.
The Georgetown (University) Climate Center paid for Inslee and two other state officials to attend the conference through foundations, according to The Times, meaning Washington taxpayers aren’t directly funding this trip. Dori, however, calls the trip a “boondoggle,” since the local politicians are not taking vacation days for the trip.
“They get a free trip to Paris, paid by a private foundation,” he said. “We get to provide them with bonus vacation days…They are ripping off the taxpayers by not taking vacation days.”