Progressives Push Back Against Joe Biden’s Reported ‘Middle Ground’ Climate Policy

Joe Biden speaks to reporters after eating at a taco restaurant.
Mario Tama / Getty Images

In an exclusive report published Thursday, Reuters news agency revealed that Joe Biden is creating a “middle ground” climate policy. According to Reuters‘ sources, Obama advisers and former energy department officials are architecting the plan, which is essentially a return to Obama-era climate change politics.

Biden will allegedly propose that the United States rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, seek to limit emissions from coal plants and similar facilities, and support nuclear energy, natural gas, and carbon capture technologies. The former vice president’s proposal is not nearly as ambitious as the Green New Deal, which has been embraced by virtually every other Democrat with a shot at winning the presidency.

Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, and Jay Inslee are all backing the Green New Deal.

But as soon as Reuters published the report, backlash ensued. As Business Insider reports, progressives and others to Biden’s left responded negatively to the proposal, suggesting that it is weak and insufficient.

“We need to let the science guide us on climate policy, not the politics,” Governor Jay Inslee, who has made climate change the core issue of his campaign, said. “And the science clearly shows that we have no time to delay.” He added that planet Earth is “on fire,” and that aggressive climate policy needs to be pursued.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said that there cannot be “middle ground,” taking aim at lobbyists and billionaires.

“There is no ‘middle ground’ when it comes to climate policy. If we don’t commit to fully transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels, we will doom future generations. Fighting climate change must be our priority, whether fossil fuel billionaires like it or not.”

“This is a dealbreaker,” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a tweet, condemning Biden campaign for seemingly suggesting that the American working class opposes bold climate policy. “Our kids’ lives are at stake,” she wrote.

Progressive activists, journalist, and campaigners were even more vocal in their criticism. The Intercept‘s Lee Fang pointed out via Twitter that Biden’s climate policy adviser Heather Zichal — who also served in the Obama administration — received over $1 million dollar in compensation after leaving the gas export firm Cheniere Energy.

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As Common Dreams reported, even Greenpeace was quick to condemn the former vice president’s reported climate policy, stating that Biden should “say yes” to the Green New Deal.

Progressive pundit Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks took to Twitter to compare Biden to Hillary Clinton, suggesting that they are both status quo politicians, and asking if Biden’s “middle ground” is “between the planet & his corporate donors?”