Sunday, May 12, 2019

How Vulnerable Is Biden on the Green New Deal?

Biden is already taking a lot of incoming from his Democratic rivals and GND partisans on the inadequacy of his climate plan, despite few details being currently available. What little we know, as summarized in a Reuters report:
"Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden is crafting a climate change policy he hopes will appeal to both environmentalists and the blue-collar voters who elected Donald Trump...carving out a middle ground approach...
The backbone of the policy will likely include the United States re-joining the Paris Climate Agreement and preserving U.S. regulations on emissions and vehicle fuel efficiency that Trump has sought to undo...[T]he policy could also be supportive of nuclear energy and fossil fuel options like natural gas and carbon capture technology, which limit emissions from coal plants and other industrial facilities."
Despite all the heavy breathing from his opponents and miscellaneous advocates, this doesn't sound so terrible to me as an opening bid. Of course, we'll see what the details of the plan are but I am not too worried that Biden is not unabashedly endorsing a huge Green New Deal of the AOC-Markey variety.
In fact, it's probably a good idea not to do that. Polling indicates that voters are very supportive of clean energy and are open to some kind of Green New Deal, but the details of such a plan are clearly going to matter a lot to its saleability in a general election campaign, not to mention actual feasibility as policy. So it's fine the Biden is apparently leaving himself a lot of room to maneuver in this area.
In the end, I suspect that will not only be good for Biden and Democratic prospects in 2020, but also for actual progress on a program that can combat climate change, even if winds up under a different name. As the spectacularly effective leader Deng Xiaoping put it, "Who cares if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice?"
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A report that Mr. Biden is seeking a “middle ground” on climate change has sparked attacks from progressive Democratic candidates.

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