Rep. Inslee: “This is a moment for scientists to channel their inner Rambo.”

Tells Senators to “put away your fear” and unleash clean energy jobs

One of the Congress’s true leaders on clean energy and climate, Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA), was speaking at the Center for American Progress last week.  Both Brad Johnson and I had a chance to interview him.

The above video was actually the second half of my (F)lip-camera interview.  Here’s where Inslee explains the science and the need for action on clean energy — in a short elevator ride:

Brad Johnson has more in his Wonk Room interview:

Inslee sat down with the Wonk Room just before he addressed the Apollo Alliance-Center for American Progress “Picking A Winner: How to Make the U.S. a Leader in the Clean Energy Economy” conference, in which luminaries from the labor, business, and political world discussed what American clean-energy industrial policy should look like.

The lack of trust in American ingenuity is leading senators to want to water down and weaken climate legislation now being constructed by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT). Dozens of senators are pushing for less ambitious targets, a smaller clean-energy market, and tremendous subsidies for the existing and antiquated energy infrastructure of nuclear, coal, and oil. Instead of being trapped by fear, the Senate should indeed get a “dose of confidence” and unleash the future.


INSLEE: I’m always kinda reluctant to say why other people do things. I will just say this. Two things that we need the Senate, for Senators to stand up and realize.

Number one: the American people get this, and they want strong action on clean energy. I’ve talked to some of my fellow politicians who seem to say Americans don’t want to act.

That’s just not right!

If you go out and talk to Americans, and look at the polling results “” at Frank Lutz [sic], Frank Lutz is a Republican pollster, he went out and polled on this “” guess what, the Republicans found out in their poll that something like by two-to-one margins Americans want action on clean energy. And the reason they want action on clean energy is they understand like I do that this is the greatest job-creation-potential engine that is available to us right now.

And whatever you think of global climate change, you know and Americans know that this is the way we’re going to create millions of new jobs in this country. That’s what the Apollo Alliance is all about. is pushing this idea.

And Americans get this in their gut, and they’re willing to make the investments in the short term to get benefits in the long term and even the short term for job creation. That’s number one.

Number two: I would counsel people who don’t want to move on this to just get over their fear. Because frankly it’s fear that’s holding back. It’s people who are afraid that Americans aren’t smart enough to invent new technologies to deal with that. That we’re not bold enough like we used to be when we went to the moon with the original Apollo project.

You’ve gotta get over that fear. We’re just as smart as when we went to the moon. Our kids are smarter than we are. They’re just as energetic. We have an entrepreneurial engine of creation of new businesses in this country, that includes China, if we’ll just unleash it.

So what I would say: Put away your fear, get a little dose of confidence, cast a vote that has trust in America’s entrepreneurial spirit, and we will beat this beast and America will grow economically. And I really believe this. So I hope the Senate gets the message.

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11 Responses to Rep. Inslee: “This is a moment for scientists to channel their inner Rambo.”

  1. GreenPRGuy says:

    At last, a *real* elevator speech.

  2. fj2 says:

    Yes! “. . . Put away your fear, get a little dose of confidence, cast a vote that has trust in America’s entrepreneurial spirit, . . .”

    The United States still has both the human capital and natural capital to answer the climate crisis call to action in a really big way. We have done this in past and we are even better positioned to do this right now.

    “Enough of the big lies,” is what Americans essentially said in the last presidential election.

    The scientists that Senator James Inhofe (Republican, Oklahoma) trashed should openly confront him before the United States Senate.

    Trash talking is easy but during Copenhagen — according to these pages — Inhofe was quite meek.

  3. Brad Hudson says:

    Jay is my congressman. I’ve never had a better representative.

  4. Way to go Jay Inslee !

    There is no choice in whether to follow the rules of physics. We only get to make choices in political movements. It seems prudent to sync up with science. It seems stupid not to.

    Change or die.

  5. mike roddy says:

    Inslee’s a breath of fresh air. I’m getting tired of reading statements from fossil fuel and utility companies saying that switching to renewable energy will take 40 years. If we wait that long, we’re done.

  6. Will says:

    Jay’s my congressman too!! Keep up the great work, and NEVER retire!

  7. Mike Roddy.. your comment is spot on.

    One way to act fast is to nationalize all the carbon fuel industries.

  8. WastedEnergy says:

    Do we really need “Inner Rambos” or maybe what we really need is to channel our Inner Gandhis? It’s almost starting to seem to me like there is as much hostility to any disagreement on the science questions from scientists as there is hostility in the denialisms themselves…

    I’m not saying the deniers are right, and in fact they are just as guilty of sophistry and ad hominems for the most part. The logic on both sides of the “debate” seems to be “WIPE OUT DISSENT AT ALL COSTS!!!!” That is in fact part of the reason why climate activism has become so unimportant to me lately and I have chosen to focus on issues I find to be more important, and neglected. Like water pollution, solid waste, and of course, peak oil!

    All I’m saying is it wouldn’t hurt to revisit these questions, perhaps in less shrill tones than is being done now…I thought “progressives” were supposed to be “open-minded?” So come on, let’s have a REAL debate, and maybe even a little “climate progress,” shall we? :)

  9. Will says:

    Richard, why make suggestions like that when you know they are not politically or economically feasible? Honestly the green movement needs keep a careful watch over our rhetoric. Appearing socialist and communist is a disaster for our movement. We have to be the patriots, the capitalists, as well as the progressive environmentalists. Every time “nationalization” has been tried it’s been a disaster.

  10. David B. Benson says:

    Will (10) — Seems to work for various crude oil producing countries. Why is that, do you suppose?