Mar 10, 2020 - Energy & Environment

A Biden presidency would face significant climate scrutiny from activists

Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Yesterday brought a reminder that if Joe Biden wins the presidency, a lot of his staffing decisions could become battlegrounds over climate policy, not just his picks to run agencies like the EPA and the DOE.

Driving the news: When Axios' Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen reported that Joe Biden confidantes were discussing JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon among several potential Treasury picks, the reaction from some climate activists was severe.

What they're saying: The umbrella group Stop The Money Pipeline, which targets big banks' fossil fuel project lending, said he would be a "disaster" in light of JPMorgan's extensive work with the sector.

Why it matters: While Biden's climate plan would go well beyond Obama-era policies, the left flank of the green movement doesn't trust him and thinks he's too moderate, especially compared to Bernie Sanders.

  • So look for them to carefully scrutinize his personnel picks across the government.
  • That's true regardless of whether Dimon is indeed in the potential mix, which the Biden campaign dismissed as "laughable speculation."
  • Oh, and Green New Deal activists protested Biden's speech in Michigan last night.

Go deeper

Joe Biden is facing closer scrutiny of his climate plans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The apparent end of the Democratic primary's truly competitive phase will bring closer scrutiny of Joe Biden's climate and energy plans — and new efforts to change them.

The state of play: Bernie Sanders yesterday suggested that his mission in remaining in the race is pushing Biden left, and he name-checked climate change among the policy areas.

Clearing up the Biden-Bernie fracking tussle at the debate

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Getty Images photos: Ethan Miller and Brian Blanco

There was a lot of confusion Sunday night about whether Joe Biden made a big change in his energy platform during his debate with Bernie Sanders. He didn't.

What happened: At one point during his exchange on climate policy with Bernie Sanders, Biden said "no new fracking." That raised antennae about whether he was going beyond his existing vow to end new oil-and-gas permitting on federal lands and waters.

Joe Biden's secret governing plan

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Animation: Nathan Goodell/The Strangeworks

This is a new "Axios on HBO" column on the reality behind the curtain of the powerful, by Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen.

Joe Biden confidants are privately discussing potential leaders and Cabinet members for his White House, including the need to name a woman or African American — perhaps both — as vice president, top sources tell "Axios on HBO." 

Why it matters: Biden advisers describe a Return to Normal plan — a reversal of President Trump's unorthodox, improvisational style. Biden wants known, trusted people around him — many from the Obama years.