Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Left-wing climate activists don't want Joe Biden getting advice from people with credentials they don't like — and they're increasingly going public with their campaign.

Why it matters: Nobody is confusing Biden with President Trump, and his climate platform goes much further than anything contemplated in the Obama years.

  • Wider battles — in public and behind the scenes — loom within Democratic and progressive circles over staffing and nomination decisions.
  • Already, per Bloomberg, some activists are pressing Biden to "distance himself from former Obama administration advisers they view as either too moderate or too cozy with the fossil-fuel industry."

What's new: Later Tuesday, groups including Stop the Money Pipeline, and Climate Finance Action plan to stage demonstrations at offices of investment behemoth BlackRock in four cities.

  • They don't want Biden to bring BlackRock execs into his administration if he wins, citing the company's investments in fossil fuels despite its sustainability initiative launched this year.
  • The demonstrations will be in New York, Los Angeles, Boston and San Francisco.

What's next: Look for these debates to intensify if Biden actually wins, which is the priority for the environmental movement, especially the biggest and most influential groups.

  • The Sierra Club endorsed Biden yesterday, an expected move but one that signals a flurry of activity to come as the race intensifies this fall.
  • "Along with its endorsement, the Sierra Club has launched the biggest grassroots political operation in the organization’s 128-year history," the group said.

Where it stands: Biden's network of aides and informal advisers is pretty broad.

  • It spans former Obama-era hands but also outside activists, and he's conferred with officials like Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, whose call for a 100% clean power mandate by 2035 was recently added to Biden's platform.

Quick take: "Personnel is policy," as Sen. Elizabeth Warren likes to say.

  • But Senate makeup and rules, the judiciary and competing priorities are probably bigger hurdles to sweeping action than outside advisers or potential appointees who aren't Green New Deal-y enough for some activists.

Go deeper

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.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Sep 19, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Pinpointing climate change's role in extreme weather

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Getty Images photos: David McNew and George Rose

Climate scientists are increasingly able to use computer models to determine how climate change makes some extreme weather more likely.

Why it matters: Climate change's effects are arguably felt most directly through extreme events. Being able to directly attribute the role climate plays in natural catastrophes can help us better prepare for disasters to come, while driving home the need to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Sep 19, 2020 - Energy & Environment
Column / Harder Line

Big Tech takes the climate change lead

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Getty Images photo: Jit Chattopadhyay/Pacific Press/LightRocket

The tech industry is playing a growing role in fighting climate change, from zero-carbon commitments to investments in startups and pushing for the use of data to encourage energy efficiency.

Why it matters: Big Tech is already dominating our economy, politics and culture. Its leadership in helping to address climate change — and reckon with its role in contributing to it — could have similarly transformative impacts.