- The Washington Times - Monday, May 20, 2019

Joe Biden says he was the guy who “started this whole thing” on climate change, which may come as a surprise to Al Gore.

Former Vice President Biden was asked Saturday by an activist with the US Youth Climate Strike if he would support a presidential climate debate hosted by her group, at which point he jumped in to tout his global-warming bona fides.

“By the way, I want you to know:  I’m the guy that did all this stuff—read RealClearPolitics, it will tell you about how I started this whole thing back in ’87 with climate change,” he said at a campaign stop in video posted online.

Asked if he would commit to being a leader, he said, “I guarantee I’ll be a leader.”

His claim to be the one who “started this whole thing back in ’87” met with mockery on social media, but it’s not the first time Mr. Biden has trumpeted his early action on climate change as he comes under fire by the environmental left for being too moderate.

A former senator, Mr. Biden has said previously that he was the first to introduce climate-change legislation, referring to his 1986 Global Climate Protection Act, which called for the president to establish a task force on reducing global warming.

PolitiFact rated his claim to have introduced the first climate-change bill as “true,” while pointing out that then-Sen. Al Gore held a House hearing on climate change in 1976 and introduced a concurrent resolution in 1985 on greenhouse-gas emissions.

Mr. Biden enjoys a comfortable lead in most 2020 Democratic presidential primary polls, but

climate activists erupted after Reuters reported May 10 that his campaign was seeking “middle ground” on climate change.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat, called it a “dealbreaker,” tweeting, “There is no ‘middle ground’ w/ climate denial & delay.”

Sunrise Movement co-founder Varshini Prakash called his plan “a death sentence for our generation,” while 350.org founder Bill McKibben said in an op-ed that Mr. Biden was “too stuck in the past to be a credible standard-bearer for the Democratic party.”

Mr. Biden has not yet unveiled a climate-change plan or endorsed Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal resolution, which calls for a national mobilization on climate change. Republicans have pegged the cost at as high as $93 trillion.

Eleven other Democratic presidential contenders, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, Mr. Biden’s closest competitor, have endorsed the Green New Deal.


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