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Biden backs calls for 2020 debate focused on climate

Biden backs calls for 2020 debate focused on climate
© Greg Nash

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate Democrats negotiating changes to coronavirus bill Rural Americans are the future of the clean energy economy — policymakers must to catch up WHO official says it's 'premature' to think pandemic will be over by end of year MORE is backing calls for a 2020 presidential debate focused solely on climate change a week after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced it would not host one.

"Yeah, I’m all in," the White House hopeful said Tuesday at a campaign rally in Iowa when asked about a debate dedicated to climate change. 

Last week, the DNC informed Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeWashington state officials warn providers offering VIP vaccine access Legislators go after governors to rein in COVID-19 powers Inslee rebukes hospital over vaccine appointments for donors MORE (D), who has built his 2020 campaign around environmental issues, that it would not hold a debate focused on climate.

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That decision has been met with backlash, including from many other 2020 contenders who say a climate-specific debate is warranted given the severity of the crisis.

According to Greenpeace, 16 Democratic candidates, including Biden, have called for a climate debate.

"Today, Joe Biden proved he’s listening to the thousands of people across the country who have called for an official debate on the climate crisis," Greenpeace USA Climate Campaign Director Janet Redman said in a statement. "More people than ever are reeling from climate impacts, and they deserve an ally in the White House who’s going to act with the courage and urgency this crisis merits."

DNC Chairman Tom PerezThomas PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE responded to the backlash on Saturday, saying that a climate change debate is "not practical" after a group of activists confronted him about the issue.

“It’s just not practical,” Perez told the activists after delivering remarks at the Florida Democratic Party’s Leadership Blue gala. “And as someone who worked for Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaWhy Biden can't turn back the clock on the Iran nuclear deal CPAC, all-in for Trump, is not what it used to be Americans have decided to give professionals a chance MORE, the most remarkable thing about him was his tenacity to multitask, and a president must be able to multitask.”

Biden on Tuesday also committed to a phaseout of fossil fuel production in the U.S. A phaseout was briefly mentioned in the former vice president's $5 trillion climate plan rolled out last week.