Biden and Warren propose ambitious plans on climate change, reflecting Democratic urgency

If Joe Biden had been inclined to take a middle-of-the-road approach toward climate change, he’s abandoned it, judging by the proposal he unveiled Tuesday — an aggressive $1.7-trillion, 10-year plan to combat warming that goes considerably further than the environmental agenda of the Obama White House.

Climate change got relatively little attention in the 2016 campaign. By contrast, this year, there is almost a race by Democratic candidates to outdo one another in environmental ambition.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee argues that climate action must take precedence over everything else and has styled himself as the climate candidate. He calls for the U.S. to have an economy running 100% on renewable energy by 2035. Beto O’Rourke, trying to regain some forward motion in a seemingly stalled campaign, turned hard to climate action and swore off any fossil-fuel related campaign money after activists took note of all the oil industry workers who have donated to him.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders echoed the sentiment of many in the party at last weekend’s California Democratic Party convention when he declared that “we have got to make it clear that when the future of the planet is at stake, there is no ‘middle ground.’” The remark was a shot at Biden after a campaign aide to the former vice president suggested to Reuters last month that a middle ground on climate was exactly what Biden sought.

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