Washington Governor On Donald Trump: "Only Smallpox Has Done More To Unite Scientists"

Democratic Governor of Washington Jay Inslee, pictured here (r) speaking at an innovation conference in Vancouver back in 2016. Ben Nelms/Bloomberg via Getty Images

When we sat down for a chat with the Governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, we expected that he would be as pro-science as he is anti-Trump – but we weren’t expecting him to combine both facets with such ease into single sentences.

“I think there’s only one person in the world that’s done more to inspire climate activism, and to inspire scientists to speak out more than Al Gore, and that’s Donald Trump,” Inslee tells IFLScience.

“His rejection of Paris was a bell in the night; it has inspired so many people to come out and stand up.”

Then, rather mischievously, he adds: “Except for the eradication of smallpox, there hasn’t been anything that humanity has been so united on.”

Comparing the President to one of the most dangerous diseases in human history is something most American politicians would shy away from – but it’s not a disingenuous comparison at all.

When the President announced that he was to pull the country out of the Paris agreement, the entire world certainly reacted in dismay. Democrats, Republicans, scientists, academics, figureheads, prime ministers, chancellors, and presidents made their protestations very clear very quickly. Even North Korea gave Trump a bit of a ribbing.

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Things didn’t end there, however: The world moved on, forged new partnerships and agreements, and vowed to double-down on their efforts to make this planet great again.

It’s fair to say that America as a whole isn’t leaving the Paris agreement either. Shortly after the decision was made, the Climate Alliance was born. Co-founded by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, California Governor Jerry Brown, and Washington Governor Jay Inslee, this bipartisan group of states aims to stick to the goals of the Paris accords, no matter what the federal government does.

At the time of writing, 14 states plus one territory (Puerto Rico) have joined the Alliance: California, New York, Washington, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Colorado, Massachusetts, Vermont, Oregon, Hawaii, Virginia, Minnesota, and Delaware.

“This isn’t just symbolic. There is a practical point to this,” Inslee stressed.

Time's running out to save the world. United Nations Photo/Flickr; CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“We thought it was really important to demonstrate to the rest of the world that there are millions of Americans that are willing to move forward with climate change prevention.”

“It’s really important that the rest of the world doesn’t lose heart. It’s wonderful that you’ve not seen a single major voice that has followed Trump off the cliff. We wanted to make sure they know that we’re still with them.”

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