Joe Biden. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

On Friday, Reuters broke the news that Democratic White House frontrunner Joe Biden is crafting a middle ground approach on climate policy.

Why it matters: The story sheds light on how Biden may approach a topic that he has not yet emphasized in his nascent run. Biden drew quick attacks from rivals and activists, with Sen. Bernie Sanders and Gov. Jay Inslee issuing statements calling it inadequate. Per HuffPost, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was also critical.

The intrigue: Biden's campaign pushed back against the story's framing without disputing their actual reporting. A spokesperson said via Twitter that Biden will address climate in a "meaningful and lasting way."

A few takeaways...

  • Biden's approach seems less ambitious than what we've seen from several other candidates, who are backing the Green New Deal, and/or promoting aggressive proposals of their own. As we noted in late April, Biden probably has little incentive to run left on climate.
  • But, but, but: There's plenty we still don't know. And the Reuters' piece itself cautioned that the approach could change. I know it's lame when journalists say "stay tuned." But stay tuned.
  • The way the whole thing blew up and attacks from some other candidates show that climate is a real thing in national politics now.
  • Plus, if Biden wins the White House, congressional Republicans and litigation will probably be bigger checks on aggressive measures than any lack of ambition from Biden himself.

The big picture: Per Reuters, the policy will likely include:

  • Staying in the Paris climate deal and preserving Obama-era emissions and vehicle mileage rules that Trump is unwinding.
  • Being "supportive of nuclear energy and fossil fuel options like natural gas and carbon capture technology," according to one source.

What's next: Via Twitter, Biden said he views climate change as an "existential threat," and that he will unveil more details "in the coming weeks."

Go deeper: What Biden and Beto just told us about the 2020 climate fight

Go deeper

Updated 13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 a.m. ET: 30,199,007 — Total deaths: 946,490— Total recoveries: 20,544, 967Map
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 a.m. ET: 6,675,593 — Total deaths: 197,644 — Total recoveries: 2,540,334 — Total tests: 90,710,730Map
  3. Politics: Former Pence aide says she plans to vote for Joe Biden, accusing Trump of costing lives in his coronavirus response.
  4. Health: Pew: 49% of Americans wouldn't get COVID-19 vaccine if available today Pandemic may cause cancer uptick The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine — COVID-19 racial disparities extend to health coverage losses.
  5. Business: Retail sales return to pre-coronavirus trend.
Mike Allen, author of AM
45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Mike Bloomberg's anti-chaos theory

CNN's Anderson Cooper questions Joe Biden last night at a drive-in town hall in Moosic, Pa., outside Scranton. Photo: CNN

Mike Bloomberg's $100 million Florida blitz begins today and will continue "wall to wall" in all 10 TV markets through Election Day, advisers tell me.

Why it matters: Bloomberg thinks that Joe Biden putting away Florida is the most feasible way to head off the national chaos we could have if the outcome of Trump v. Biden remained uncertain long after Election Day.

Biden's hardline Russia reset

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Getty Images photos: Mark Reinstein

When he talks about Russia, Joe Biden has sounded like Ronald Reagan all summer, setting up a potential Day 1 confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin if Biden were to win.

Why it matters: Biden has promised a forceful response against Russia for both election interference and alleged bounty payments to target American troops in Afghanistan. But being tougher than President Trump could be the easy part. The risk is overdoing it and making diplomacy impossible.