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- Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is reportedly crafting a "middle ground" approach to combatting climate change, which included fossil fuel options.
- Liberals and Democrats closer to the party’s base responded negatively to the looming proposal, as climate change is a primary issue for many voters.
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Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden received significant pushback from progressive groups and more liberal candidates after reports that his campaign is crafting a plan that would take a "middle ground" approach to combatting the effects of global climate change.
Biden’s plan would reportedly embrace industries that contribute to greenhouse gasses as well as nuclear, which led to criticism from Democrats who count climate change as a primary issue.
Reuters reported that the coming plan would be drastically different from much of the Democratic field, many of whom have openly supported the Green New Deal and other comprehensive measures.
Heather Zichal is reportedly crafting the proposal. Zichal is a former Barack Obama adviser and former member of the board of directors at Cheniere, a natural gas company. The plan would also include the United States rejoining the Paris Climate Accords, which President Donald Trump left early on in his presidency.
Immediately, Democrats took issue with what they characterized as a lackadaisical approach to a major problem like climate change.
"We need to let the science guide us on climate policy, not the politics," said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, one of Biden’s fellow 2020 candidates. "And the science clearly shows that we have no time to delay. That’s why we need a national mobilization to defeat climate change, and that’s exactly what I’ll make priority #1 as president."
"If our house were on fire, we wouldn’t seek a middle-ground approach to putting it out," he added. "When our planet is on fire, we shouldn’t seek one either. We can pursue realistic and aggressive climate policy, based on successes in states and cities across America."
"There is no ‘middle ground’ when it comes to climate policy," he wrote. "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."
Activists were angered by the Reuters report as well.
Vashon Prakash, a cofounder of the Sunrise Movement, a progressive activist group that has been central on pushing climate change policy, called the reported proposal a "death sentence."
"A ‘middle ground’ policy that’s supportive of more fossil fuel development is a death sentence for our generation and the millions of people on the frontlines of the climate crisis," said Prakash.
Prakash added that if Biden were serious about combatting climate change he would back the Green New Deal. "Instead, he’s taking a page from the oil and gas lobby’s playbook," he said.
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