Washington Gov. Jay Inslee tested the presidential waters in a field of more than 20 Democrats seeking to unseat Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

He was never close to having the polling numbers of the top contenders, and he was rarely quoted in the national press.

He did, however, have bulldog tenacity when it came to climate change and what can be done about it before it’s too late. Unfortunately, that mantra seemed to have a short life when it came to the other campaigns.

He announced Wednesday he was withdrawing from the race. After a five-month campaign he never managed to gain the traction needed for a successful national presidential run.

“Our mission to defeat climate change must continue to be central to our national discussion — and must be the top priority for our next president,” Inslee wrote in a message to supporters Wednesday night. “But I’ve concluded that my role in that effort will not be as a candidate to be the next president of the United States.”

Inslee is spot on about climate change being a critically important issue facing the U.S. and the world now and in the future. Other issues and talking points of politicians such as immigration, trade, race relations, and myriad social issues tend to pale when compared to the devastating impact climate change would have for life on Earth if left unchecked.

Climate change is polarizing. Many people regard it as hysteria from the left or fake news, and continue behaviors as they always have. It doesn’t take a quantum leap of faith to see, understand and appreciate the negative impact of fossil-fuel usage on the environment.

There is no easy fix or reversal for climate change.

Many benchmarks of change have been passed; the latest being a funeral for a melted glacier in Greenland. But too many in and out of power have deferred the problem-solving to future generations. Or they simply feel the problem is short-term and will self-correct.

As a sitting governor, Inslee took considerable risk in his stance on climate change. Because he did, Washington state is in the forefront of doing something about it such as reducing fossil fuel emissions and requiring utilities to generate energy using renewable methods.

Inslee may have lost his national platform by leaving the race but shortly afterward he announced he would run for a third term as governor.

Inslee has more than demonstrated his commitment to taking on the challenges of combating climate change.

If re-elected, we have no doubt he will continue his statewide efforts as well as bring his expertise again to the national level. It wouldn’t be too hard to imagine him in a cabinet level or other national position to help make sound climate policy a reality.

— Murf Raquet, for the editorial board

Recommended for you