May 10, 2019

How Joe Biden's campaign will approach climate change

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Joe Biden, the early 2020 Democratic frontrunner, is seeking a middle ground on climate policy and has brought on one of former President Obama's high-level aides as an informal adviser, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The story sheds new light on how Biden will approach a topic that he has not yet emphasized in his nascent White House run. While Biden's campaign has not yet unveiled a policy platform, the report confirms that he is not seeking to join rivals who are running to the left on the issue.

  • A number of other candidates have endorsed the Green New Deal resolution — which has drawn criticism from some labor unions — or floated other quite aggressive plans.

The big picture: The "backbone" of Biden's policy will involve remaining in the Paris climate deal, and preserving emissions and vehicle mileage rules that President Trump's agencies are unwinding.

  • The story sources that broad outline to Heather Zichal, a former top aide to Obama who Reuters reports is now Biden's informal climate adviser.
  • "[T]he policy will likely also be supportive of nuclear energy and fossil fuel options like natural gas and carbon capture technology, which limit emissions from coal plants and other industrial facilities," says the report, citing an unnamed former Energy Department official also advising Biden.

What they're saying: Zichal told Reuters that Biden will seek to build a "new climate coalition" and that "unions and environmentalists are searching for common ground."

  • While Biden appears to be seeking continuity with Obama-era climate policies, he's likely to face pushback from activists on the left flank of the environmental movement who are pushing the Green New Deal or have proposed other sweeping plans.
  • Varshini Prakash of the Sunrise Movement released a statement saying Biden's policy would be "a death sentence" for younger generations.

The intrigue: Biden's informal energy adviser, Heather Zichal, responded to the Reuters story on Twitter, calling it "wrong." Her response illustrates the Democrat's internal debate over how aggressively to pursue climate policy.

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

In photos: India welcomes president with massive "Namaste Trump" rally

First Lady Melania Trump, President Trump and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the "Namaste Trump" rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on Monday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump was addressing a massive rally after arriving with members of the U.S. first family in Ahmedabad, northwest India, Monday for a two-day visit.

Why it matters: The countries are forging deeper ties, particularly in the military dimension, as India’s location, size and economic growth making it the "obvious counterweight to China" for American policymakers, per Axios' Dave Lawler and Zachary Basu. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is demonstrating the importance of the visit by holding a "Namaste Trump Rally" at a packed 110,000-capacity Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad — the world's largest cricket venue.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 37 mins ago - World

Concern over coronavirus spread: Italy, South Korea and Iran report more cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The number of novel coronavirus cases in South Korea, Italy and Iran jumped on Sunday as infections in mainland China continued to grow, the latest figures show.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures amid rising case numbers, World Health Organization officials expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,619 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health

Sanders reveals free childcare plan for preschoolers

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally on Saturday in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Cengiz Yar/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders announced on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday a new plan to guarantee free child care and pre-kindergarten to all American children from infancy to age four.

Details: In the wide-ranging interview, Sanders told Anderson Cooper he planned to pay for universal childcare with a wealth tax. "It's taxes on billionaires," he said.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy