Energy & Environment

Biden distances himself from Green New Deal during town hall

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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden distanced himself from the Green New Deal at Thursday night’s town hall, telling the audience “my deal is the crucial framework.”

Biden’s comments came in response to ABC host George Stephanopoulos, who pointed to a line in Biden’s climate plan that calls the progressive 2017 resolution “a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face”

“My deal is the crucial framework, not the New Green Deal,” Biden said. “The New Green Deal calls for the elimination of all nonrenewable energy by 2030 — you can’t get there. You’re going to need to be able to transition.”

Biden’s plan does depart from the Green New Deal in a few key ways.

He calls for reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, with the electric sector reaching that goal first, by 2035.

Green New Deal co-sponsor Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and other progressives have said the U.S. should reach net-zero emissions by 2030, though the resolution itself calls on all countries to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

And while Biden sees his climate plan as part of a larger economic vision — investing in the technology needed to reduce emissions will spur jobs and growth, he said — the former vice president does not call for a job guarantee or government-provided health care for all. 

“When Biden laid out his own climate plan, he acknowledged that the Green New Deal is a crucial framework — or structure — to arrange thinking on climate because it includes two truths that he carried into his own plan: 1) the urgent need for action, and 2) a recognition of the interconnectedness of our environment and economy,” a Biden campaign official said in a statement.

“You can see those truths in his plan. But his plan is very much the Biden plan.”

Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), did embrace the Green New Deal during her own presidential run and introduced legislation to begin implementing certain aspects of the resolution. 

Biden’s plan also does not call for an end to fracking, as those on the left like Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have sought. 

But he would bar any new drilling on public lands, which would include any new fracking permits, and a transition away from fossil fuels would undoubtedly limit the industry.

Biden, like other Democrats during the primary, has called for eliminating subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. 

“I would stop giving tax breaks and subsidizing oil. We don’t need to subsidize oil any longer,” he said. “We should stop that and save billions of dollars over time.”

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Bernie Sanders Biden Climate change fracking George Stephanopoulos Green New Deal Joe Biden

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