Biden Heckled: Tells Crowd He Has ‘No Middle Ground’ on Climate Change

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to reporters after a campaign stop at Lindy's Diner in Keene N.H., Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

An audience member heckled former vice president Joe Biden during a campaign stop in Keene, New Hampshire, Saturday for telling the crowd that he has “no middle ground” on climate change, blurring the line between Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) radical climate change position and his own.

Biden spoke to a group in Keene as part of his brief blitz through the Granite State, telling the crowd  he has “no middle ground” on climate change and getting heckled for it.

“I don’t have a middle ground. I have the most forward – Okay look all right look,” Biden said as the heckler shouted “no fracking!”

“We can talk later. I’m happy to talk to you about it in detail … by the way, I agree with it,” Biden added:

This would not be the first time Biden has been criticized for his ideas on combatting climate change, which – in the past – have paled in comparison to the ideas offered by ultra-progressive Sanders, who rolled out a massive $16 trillion Green New Deal plan this week.

Ocasio-Cortez – a champion of the Green New Deal – seemingly dissed Biden’s initial proposal, which included a $1.7 trillion plan to “invest in a clean energy economy” with a goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

The freshman lawmaker said his plan, particularly his goal of zero net emissions by 2050, is “too late.”

“Scientifically, anything that is less than helping us cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 is going to be too late,” she said, according to the Hill.

“It’s a start, and I think that what that has shown is a dramatic shift in the right direction, but we need to keep pushing for a plan that is at the scale of the problem,” she added.

Sanders’ official plan, in contrast, calls for a $16.3 trillion public investment, which expands existing entitlement programs by billions.

As Breitbart News reported:

Sanders says we must “directly invest a historic $16.3 trillion public investment toward these efforts, in line with the mobilization of resources made during the New Deal and WWII, but with an explicit choice to include black, indigenous and other minority communities who were systematically excluded in the past.”

However, he claims the investment will effectively “pay for itself” over 15 years and that the price of inaction will cost far more, citing experts who say that doing nothing will cost the U.S. “$34.5 trillion in economic activity” by 2100. He plans to pay for the $16.3 trillion plan with additional taxes on the fossil fuel industry, and he plans to “prosecute and sue” them for the damage ravaged on the planet.

Sanders’ exhaustive plan covers virtually every angle of the climate change “crisis,” from promising to “fully electrify and decarbonize” the transportation sector, to investing $1.12 billion in “tribal land access and extension programs,” to providing “oral translation assistance to USDA, FDA, and DOJ offices for non-English speaking farmers,” to pouring $200 billion in the Green Climate Fund.

Biden signaled a more radical shift during the last debate, telling moderator Dana Bash that his administration would work to eliminate fossil fuels.

“Just to clarify, would there be any place for fossil fuels including coal and fracking in a Biden administration?” Bash asked.

“No. We would work it out. We would make sure it’s eliminated, and no more subsidies for either one of those, any fossil fuel,” Biden said.

By contrast, Biden told voters in 2008 that he and former President Barack Obama supported “clean coal,” and he repeated the same sentiment in 2012:

However, in recent weeks, Biden has – seemingly – shifted to more radical positions, matching the likes of Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and Sanders.

“We have to make clear that climate change covers a whole range of things,” Biden told Valley News ahead of a forum at Dartmouth College Friday. “Climate change is a public health risk.”

He even echoed Sanders, who once called climate change a greater national security threat than ISIS or Al Qaeda.

“Four years ago I came here to Iowa and I was asked what is the major national security issue we face? And people thought I’d say ISIS or Al Qaeda, and those are big issues,” Sanders told a crowd in Des Moines, Iowa, this month.

“The answer that I gave, in terms of national security, is climate change,” he added:

“I put climate change at the top of my list. It’s the single biggest existential threat out there,” Biden told Valley News, echoing Sanders and mentioning a ten-year deadline:

We have, probably, ten years to keep the changes from being irreversible. The floods in the Midwest this summer rendered seven of our military bases useless for a while. … When President (Barack) Obama and I were first elected and we were briefed by the Defense Department, the first thing they wanted to talk about, the single greatest threat to national security, was climate change. They showed us the projections for mass migrations, and today we’re seeing more mass migrations since anytime since World War II.

Given Biden’s latest admission in Keene, NH, it remains unclear if he does, in fact, agree with Sanders’ more radical approach to tackling climate change.

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