Ocasio-Cortez: Biden's 'Middle Ground' Climate Plan Is a 'Dealbreaker'

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez / Getty Images
May 13, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) criticized former Vice President Joe Biden's proposal for a moderate plan to address climate change, calling it a "dealbreaker" for progressive Democrats.

"There is no 'middle ground' w/ climate denial & delay," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "Blaming 'blue collar' Americans as the main opponents to bold climate policy is gas lobbyist 101. We're not going to solve the climate crisis w/ this lack of leadership. Our kids' lives are at stake."

Ocasio-Cortez's criticisms followed a report that Biden is working on a climate change plan that he hopes will appeal both to hard-line Green New Deal supporters and voters in industrial states who supported President Donald Trump's campaign in 2016. Biden's plan will likely focus on recommitting the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement and tightening regulations on fuel emissions, according to Reuters. The plan might also advocate for a greater emphasis on nuclear power and natural gas, which release lower carbon emissions than fossil fuels.

Biden touted his record on climate change in a series of tweets on Friday.

"I'm proud to have been one of the first to introduce climate change legislation. What I fought for in 1986 is more important than ever — climate change is an existential threat. Now. Today," he wrote. "We need policies that reflect this urgency. I'll have more specifics on how America can lead on climate in the coming weeks."

Biden adviser Heather Zichal told Reuters that Biden's plan is derived from former President Barack Obama's approach to policy.

"What we learned from the Obama administration is unless we find middle ground on these issues, we risk not having any policies," she said.

Biden stands out from the wide field of Democratic candidates, most of whom have lined up behind Ocasio-Cortez on the Green New Deal. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I. Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) , Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), Cory Booker (D., N.J.), as well as Beto O’Rourke, Gov. Jay Inslee and Mayor Pete Buttigieg have all backed the Green New Deal, or made equally progressive statements in support of stringent measures to curb climate change.