Biden Issues Climate Plan That Aims Well Beyond Obama’s Goal – The New York Times

Before Mr. Biden released his proposal, prominent liberal politicians and activists expressed doubts about his commitment to a bold environmental policy.

A Reuters report last month said Mr. Biden was seeking a “middle ground” to combat climate change, which his campaign called a mischaracterization of his position. But that reporting appeared to prompt Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is also running for president, and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez to make oblique swipes at Mr. Biden.

Over the weekend, speaking to a crowd at the California Democratic Party’s convention, Mr. Sanders seized on the phrase “no middle ground,” applying it to a spate of progressive priorities, remarks that were widely seen as a rebuke of Mr. Biden.

“We have got to make it clear that when the future of the planet is at stake, there is no middle ground,” he said.

Mr. Biden has stressed on the campaign trail that he was an early advocate for combating climate change, frequently referring to work he did on that issue dating to the 1980s, when he was a Delaware senator. He will campaign in New Hampshire on Tuesday and is expected to highlight the proposal on the trail. The last time he was in the state, in mid-May, he advised Ms. Ocasio-Cortez to “look at my record” on the issue.

In the previous administration, Mr. Obama won accolades from environmentalists and enmity from Republicans for bypassing Congress and using his executive authority to instate the nation’s first major federal climate change policies, including regulations to curb planet-warming pollution from tailpipes and smokestacks. He was also a lead broker of the 2015 Paris climate change agreement, which committed nearly every country to putting forth plans to reduce emissions.

Mr. Trump, who campaigned on pledges to deregulate industry and regularly mocks the established science of human-caused climate change, has moved to roll back those environmental rules and withdraw from the Paris accord.


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