What Does ‘Middle Ground’ on Climate Change Even Mean, Joe?

Though long overdue, climate change has finally become a central issue in a presidential election. The Democratic field may be overcrowded, but just about every major contender is on board for radical climate action like the Green New Deal.

Well, there is one notable exception: former VP Joe Biden. He’s largely avoided saying much of anything about global warming since formally announcing his candidacy, and that matters a lot considering he’s polling as the clear frontrunner in this early stage.

Reuters was able to talk to multiple sources within the Biden campaign team and confirm that he is working on a climate plan behind the scenes, although it’s nowhere near as ambitious as the Green New Deal. Instead, Biden and his team think it’s better to take a “middle ground” approach to environmental policy.

Petition: Think bigger on climate change, Biden!

Sorry, but what the hell is middle ground when it comes to climate change? The scientific consensus is overwhelming that drastic and immediate action must be taken to prevent utter catastrophe. Half-hearted measures might slightly delay the inevitable, but it’s not going to get the job done in terms of protecting the planet.

Compromise is good, but not every situation can be fixed with compromise. Achieving “middle ground” with science doubting Republicans and the oil companies that make their billions by pretending the world isn’t melting will still leave us way short of guaranteeing a sustainable future.

I can sort of understand where Heather Zichal, an Obama-turned-Biden climate advisor, is coming from when she says, “What we learned from the Obama administration is unless we find middle ground on these issues, we risk not having any policies.” As a political strategy, there’s a lot of wisdom in running toward the center and playing it safe; as an environmental strategy, it’s essentially worthless.

The real “risk” is in never even trying to pursue a policy that could save us. While there’s a chance that radical environmental plans could alienate voters, it’s important to look at how Americans are showing record levels of concern over global warming, and even most Republicans want a green jobs plan like the Green New Deal. Americans are ready to get on board with something major, and to preemptively give up on such action is a death sentence for the planet.

Listen, Biden’s impending policy isn’t without some advances. According to his team, Biden wants to sign back on to the Paris Climate Agreement and also restore the emissions regulations established during the Obama admin that the Trump White House has decided to do away with. We should have never taken those backward steps to begin with, but simply going back to where we were in the early 2010s ignores how much worse the situation has gotten since then.

The Democratic presidential field has jumped on Biden for his position, and rightfully so. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, “Climate change is the greatest threat to humanity that exists today and we need solutions that are as bold and urgent as the problem we actually face.” Senator Bernie Sanders added, “Half measures mean full extinction of millions of species and full economic damage to communities across America.”

Take Action!

Because Biden has yet to formally announce his climate policy, there’s still time for his campaign to receive the message that primary voters want to see more decisive and useful plans. We can’t allow the Democratic frontrunner to sit back when it comes to climate, so sign and share this petition urging him to think bigger. Meanwhile, if you have another message to send one of the presidential campaigns, go ahead and start a petition of your own.

Photo Credit: Kuhlmann/MSC

64 comments

Brian F
Brian F19 hours ago

The Democrats hand picked Joe Biden because he will support their corruption and allow them to continue to take millions from their corporate donors. This is why the Democrats hate Bernie Sanders. It's because Bernie Sanders would try to end their corruption.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld23 hours ago

Perhaps Joe is learning from the Aussie election:

The Australian Labor Party was traditionally the party of workers. But like Extinction Rebellion in the UK, and the Democrats in the USA, the Australian Labor Party has lost touch with their base, and become the plaything of rich champagne socialists who want to assuage their self indulgent liberal angst by virtue signalling issues like climate activism.

https://iowaclimate.org/2019/05/18/aussie-election-lesson-climate-activism-is-a-game-for-lazy-rich-elitists/

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Dr. Jan Hill
Dr. Jan H1 days ago

thanks

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Brian F
Brian F2 days ago

David F You cannot deny that the sanctions the USA is currently imposing on Venezuela is causing severe poverty in the country. The USA is also calling for regime change and trying to replace the Democratically elected leader Maduro, with a puppet who they can control. So the USA is causing a great deal of suffering in Venezuela.

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David F
David F2 days ago

Brian, your hoodwinking yourself if you think the US had anything to do with the disaster in Venezuela.
Chavez nationalized nearly all private industries, fired 19,000 skilled employees of the state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela, and replaced them with ignorant loyalist to his government. The oil production and the environment was another disaster.
Judges were replaced, constitution re-written.
Their free market was replaced with a command economy, as a result it was cheaper to use their paper money for toilet paper than toilet paper.
Just one more example.

Even Finland just ran out of other peoples money, government collapses.

https://www.foxnews.com/world/finlands-entire-government-resigns-after-breakdown-of-agreement-on-welfare-state-reform

Trickle down capitalism is fantastic.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld2 days ago

Brian F.,
Yes, we are going to have to disagree on what is mainstream and extreme. Including the most popular politician.

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Brian F
Brian F2 days ago

David F Venezuela failed because the USA is trying to get its oil, and replace its leader with a puppet who will allow the USA to control the country. The USA is imposing horrible oppressive sanctions against the country that are impoverishing the people. The USA replaced the Democratic leader in Iran in 1953, and replaced him with the Shah, a brutal dictator, so the USA could control Iran's oil. So the USA is large44ly to blame for the problems in Venezuela.

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Brian F
Brian F2 days ago

Dan B This is where we agree to disagree. Most people support progressive policies like Medicare for all, free colleges, a $15.00 minimum wage, marijuana legalization, a 70% tax rate, the Green New Deal, and an end to regime change wars. These are mainstrean views. The extremist here is people like you in my opinion. This is why Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in the country and polls show he has the best chance to beat Trump. So I guess we disagree on this topic.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld3 days ago

Brian F.,
That is because you are far left. For the average American, they are extreme left policies. That is exemplified by your designation of Biden as the other extreme. Only someone on the far ends of the political spectrum would consider a moderate to be extreme.

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David F
David F3 days ago

Brian, Medicare for all, Green New Deal, marijuana legalization, a $15.00 minimum wage, a 70% tax rate, all promises that the Zero information voters fell for electing Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. supported by Bernie Sanders at the time.

Thousands starved and died, mass migration and human tragedy as world history repeated itself, inevitable with socialism.

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