Grist and Outside

This is part of a series of interviews with presidential candidates produced jointly by Grist and Outside.

Update: Joe Biden was chosen as Barack Obama’s running mate on Aug. 23, 2008. (He dropped out of the presidential race on Jan. 3, 2008.)

Joe Biden

Joe Biden.

Joe Biden says his top priority as president would be “energy security.” “If I could wave a wand, and the Lord said I could solve one problem, I would solve the energy crisis,” he said this spring at a political rally in South Carolina. “That’s the single most consequential problem we can solve.”

During his 34-year Senate career, Biden, now chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, has been known more as a chieftain of foreign policy than a champion of environmental protections (though he has earned a respectable 84 percent lifetime voting score from the League of Conservation Voters). These days, he’s emphasizing how closely geopolitics and environmental stewardship are intertwined. To solve what he sees as the defining challenge of our time, Biden has been pushing for more U.S. involvement in international climate negotiations, more compact fluorescent light bulbs, more-stringent fuel-economy regs, and a whole lot more biofuels.