The environmental activist organization Greenpeace USA is grading 2020 presidential candidates based on how aggressively they’re expected to address climate change, and vice president Joe Biden isn’t exactly earning high marks.
Biden received a D-, the fourth lowest of 20 presidential candidates reviewed by the group, edging out President Trump and Republican primary challenger Bill Weld, who both received Fs, and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who also received a D-.
The @greenpeaceusa climate team spent the past two months asking each 2020 candidate how they’ll tackle the climate crisis if they win — and the results are in. Here’s what the 2020 presidential candidates said (or didn’t say) on climate. https://t.co/lDZyZMLUqA 🧐🧐 #climate2020
— Greenpeace USA (@greenpeaceusa) May 30, 2019
Greenpeace USA spokesman Ryan Schleeter told NBC News the major reason Biden fared so poorly in the rankings is because he has no real plans to address climate change, and his decades in politics provides few clues to his positions on the two major categories examined by Greenpeace: support for the Green New Deal, and efforts to eliminate fossil fuels by 2050.
The grading system was based on known policy positions since 2013, and Biden’s D- is based on comments he’s made at a mayors conference and as vice president.
“We are in a climate emergency. Yet for the last several elections, even the majority of politicians who claim to care about our future have done little more than say they believe the climate crisis is real,” Greenpeace USA Climate Campaign Director Janet Redman said. “That doesn’t cut it anymore. In 2020, true climate leadership means nothing less than saying ‘yes’ to a Green New Deal and ‘no’ to fossil fuels.”
Biden has done neither.
The closest he’s come is to call climate change an “existential threat.”
Socialist Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, sponsor of the GND, indirectly criticized Biden earlier this month for his “middle of the road approach” to combating climate change, which she alleges will ruin the world in a decade.
“I will be damned if the same politicians who refused to act are gonna try to come back today and say we need a middle of the road approach to save our lives,” AOC said.
Biden’s response when several old ladies confronted him with the quote at a New Hampshire campaign stop days later: AOC and other climate alarmists “should calm down a little bit.”
He’s not “middle of the road,” Biden said, he’s a “game-changer” in the “green revolution.”
“You’ve never heard me say middle of the road, I’ve never been middle of the road on the environment and tell her to check, you know, um, the um, the uh, the statement that I made and look at my record,” Biden stammered in New Hampshire. “She’ll find that nobody has been more consistent about taking on the environment and the green revolution than I have.”
The ladies in New Hampshire pressed Biden on whether his plan for the environment will be enough to satisfy progressives calling for a “bold solution, like the Green New Deal.”
“I do. I do,” Biden said. “Cause all they got to do is go back and read what I’ve done already and you will be hearing very shortly the totality of what I plan on doing.
“So, this is a long campaign, and uh, everybody, they should calm down a little bit and take a look at the record,” he said. “There’s nothing middle of the road about my effort dealing with the environment. Nothing.”
“If you look at, uh, what’s the outfit, fact checks?” Biden continued. “They said that I had a consistent great record on the environment and been a game-changer from the time I got involved.”
That was a long time ago, when Biden introduced climate change legislation in the Senate in 1986, and not much has changed since.
And while Biden promises bold solutions, Greenpeace and other critics are obviously not convinced.
His decision to hire Heather Zichal – who previously earned over $1 million while on the board of a natural gas company – as a climate change policy advisor also generated scrutiny from progressives.
“What we learned from the Obama administration is unless we find middle ground on these issues, we risk not having any policies,” Zichal said.