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Joe Biden on Monday rebutted President Trump's claim that the Democratic nominee would seek to ban fracking, the oil-and-gas extraction method that has enabled a surge in U.S. production over the last decade.

Why it matters: The remarks came during a speech in Pennsylvania, a critical swing state Trump carried in 2016 where fracking-enabled natural gas development is a major industry. Nearby Ohio, which Trump also won, is also a big gas-producing state.

  • "I am not banning fracking. Let me say that again. I am not banning fracking. No matter how many times Donald Trump lies about me," Biden said.

Flashback: Some of the confusion around Biden's policy stems from a March debate with Sen. Bernie Sanders when Biden said, "No new fracking."

  • Biden's energy and climate platform aims to thwart new oil-and-gas development on federal lands and waters, but it does not call for a national ban on fracking that would affect private lands, where the nation's oil-and-gas boom has been centered.
  • His campaign later clarified that Biden was restating his existing platform — not endorsing Sanders' call for a nationwide ban.
  • Such a ban would require congressional action, which is extraordinarily unlikely.

Where it stands: During his speech, Biden promoted his backing for renewable energy while he emphasized that he doesn't favor a fracking ban.

  • "We won’t just build things back the way they were before, we’re going to build them back better with good-paying jobs, building our nation’s roads, bridges, solar arrays, windmills."
  • He called for a "clean energy strategy that has a place for the energy workers right here in western Pennsylvania."

Yes, but: While he does not support a ban on fracking, Biden's overall platform calls for an accelerated transition away from fossil fuels via several policies, including a target of 100% carbon-free power by 2035.

Go deeper

Progressives shift focus from Biden's Cabinet to his policy agenda

Joe Biden giving remarks in Wilmington, Del., last month. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Some progressives tell Axios they believe the window for influencing President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet selections has closed, and they’re shifting focus to policy — hoping to shape Biden's agenda even before he’s sworn in.

Why it matters: The left wing of the party often draws attention for its protests, petitions and tweets, but this deliberate move reflects a determination to move beyond some fights they won't win to engage with Biden strategically, and over the long term.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Dec 4, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Global energy efficiency gains are stalling

Data: IEA; Chart: Axios Visuals

Improvements in energy efficiency on a global basis have slowed to their lowest level in a decade, the International Energy Agency said in a new analysis.

Why it matters: The slowdown is another headwind in the fight against climate change, the agency warned.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
7 hours ago - Science

China makes history with successful Mars landing

A model of the Tianwen-1 Mars rover is displayed during an exhibition at the National Museum of China in Beijing. Photo: Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images

A Chinese lander carrying a rover successfully touched down on Mars for the first time, state media reports.

Why it matters: This is the first time China has landed a spacecraft on another planet, and it launches the nation into an elite club of only a few space agencies to successfully make it to the Martian surface.