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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slams Joe Biden on climate change

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez condemned former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday after reports that Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign is crafting a plan that would take a “middle ground” approach to combatting global climate change.

Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive New Yorker who earlier this year introduced the Green New Deal — an ambitious plan to fight climate change — said Biden’s stance on the issue is a “dealbreaker [sic],” likely referring to his presidential bid.

“There is no ‘middle ground’ w/ climate denial & delay. Blaming ‘blue collar’ Americans as the main opponents to bold climate policy is gas lobbyist 101,” the Bronx native tweeted. “We’re not going to solve the climate crisis w/ this lack of leadership. Our kids’ lives are at stake.”

A host of Democrats and progressive groups pushed back on Biden’s position earlier on Friday.

“If our house were on fire, we wouldn’t seek a middle-ground approach to putting it out,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who’s focusing his 2020 bid on climate change. “When our planet is on fire, we shouldn’t seek one either. We can pursue realistic and aggressive climate policy, based on successes in states and cities across America.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders also publicly criticized the proposal, and climate activists called it “a death sentence for a livable planet.”

Read more: The group that powered Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign is kicking off a war against Joe Biden’s 2020 primary bid

“There is no ‘middle ground’ when it comes to climate policy,” Sanders tweeted. “If we don’t commit to fully transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels, we will doom future generations. Fighting climate change must be our priority, whether fossil fuel billionaires like it or not.”

Biden is reportedly being counseled by former Obama advisor Heather Zichal, who spoke to Reuters about the plan, which includes re-joining the Paris Climate Agreement and bringing back tenants of Obama’s climate policy. Reuters, citing an unnamed advisor, said that the plan “could also be supportive of nuclear energy and fossil fuel options like natural gas and carbon capture technology,” which drew criticism from other Democrats.

Read more: Jill Biden says it’s time to ‘move on’ from her husband’s treatment of Anita Hill during the 1991 Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings

Reuters reported that the coming plan would be different from much of the Democratic field, many of whom have openly supported the Green New Deal and other comprehensive measures. Though, Zichal said that the plan could change in the future.

Joe Perticone contributed to this report.

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