Updated: 23 Aug 2008

Joe Biden, Barack Obama’s running mate, has earned an 83 percent lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters during his 35 years representing Delaware in the U.S. Senate, voting fairly consistently with environmentalists and the mainstream of his party. In 2007, while running for president, he said “energy security” was his top priority, and argued that he was well-suited to deal with the challenge thanks to years of experience on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which he now chairs. Biden is also a big booster of biofuels.

Read Grist’s 2007 interview with Joe Biden.

Key Points

  • Primary cosponsor of a “Sense of the Senate” resolution calling on the U.S. to participate in U.N. climate negotiations. He introduced it with Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) in the current Congress and the previous one.
  • Cosponsor of the Boxer-Sanders Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, the most stringent climate bill in the Senate. It would establish a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse-gas emissions and require the U.S. to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. (Biden became a cosponsor of it more than three months after it was introduced and just days after both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama signed on.)
  • In 2007, during his most recent run for president, called for raising fuel-economy standards for automobiles to an average of 40 miles per gallon by 2017 by increasing fuel-economy targets within vehicle classes by about one mile per gallon per year.
  • Called for increasing ethanol and biodiesel production by upping the national renewable-fuel standard to require that the fuel supply include 10 billion gallons of renewable fuel a year by 2010 and 60 billion gallons a year by 2030.
  • Called for 20 percent of the U.S. electricity supply to come from renewable sources.

Video and Audio

Watch Biden ask: What are you willing to do to break our dependence on oil?

Watch Biden answer a question about biofuels at a campaign event in New Hampshire:

Watch Biden answer a question about moving toward renewable energy at a July 20, 2007, campaign event in Iowa:

Watch Biden explain what he would do as president to address global warming at a March 3, 2007, rally in South Carolina:

Listen to a clip of Biden’s interview with Grist and Outside:

Quotable Quotes

  • “If I could wave a wand, and the Lord said I could solve one problem, I would solve the energy crisis. That’s the single most consequential problem we can solve. It’s what you have to do to get greenhouse gases under control.”
    – March 3, 2007, at a rally in Hartsville, S.C.
  • “I personally believe that the single most important step we can take to resume a leadership role in international climate-change efforts would be to make real progress toward a domestic emissions-reduction regime. For too long we have abdicated the responsibility to reduce our own emissions, the largest single source of the problem we face today. We have the world’s largest economy, with the highest per-capita emissions. Rather than leading by example, we have retreated from international negotiations.”
    – Jan. 30, 2007, in a statement given before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee