Aug 6, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Filibuster and Obama fossil fuel ties could slow Biden's climate ambitions

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Two new stories, taken together, highlight the political push-pull around Joe Biden's climate and energy plans.

Driving the news: Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that some left activists "want Biden to distance himself from former Obama administration advisers they view as either too moderate or too cozy with the fossil fuel industry."

  • Business Insider reports that several Senate Democrats are skittish about ending the filibuster — the rule that has morphed into a de-facto 60-vote requirement for almost any big bill.

Why it matters: It's quite relevant if Biden wins and Democrats take the Senate, which would open a window for moving climate and energy legislation.

  • Biden's climate platform has already been moving left, with recent additions like a proposal to have 100% of U.S. power come from carbon-free sources by 2035.
  • But when it comes to these big-ticket pieces that require legislation, the Senate is a much bigger check on what's possible than the specifics of Biden's platform — or the orbit of advisers that Bloomberg wrote about.
  • That would be even more true if the filibuster stays intact, which remains an open question. Biden recently backed off his longstanding support for the rule, while Chuck Schumer hasn't tipped his hand. It's something to watch.
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