(Experts have noted that an outright ban on fracking across the United States would require an act of Congress and could not be done by executive action. However, there are regulatory steps a president could take to limit the practice.)
Heather Zichal, an informal adviser to Mr. Biden’s campaign who helped write domestic climate change policies in the Obama administration, served until recently on the board of Cheniere Energy, a liquefied natural gas export company. In September, Mr. Biden attended a fund-raiser hosted by Andrew Goldman, co-founder of another natural gas company, Western LNG.
Isaac Larkin, a 27-year-old biologist, asked Mr. Biden about that fund-raiser during a forum on climate change on CNN last month and accused the candidate of violating a pledge not to accept money from fossil fuel executives. Mr. Biden responded that Mr. Goldman did not meet that definition because he was no longer involved with the day-to-day operations of the company and did not sit on the board.
Mr. Larkin, in an interview, criticized “Biden’s attempt to clip hairs about who is or isn’t technically a fossil fuel executive.” He also took issue with the position of the Obama administration that natural gas is an important “bridge fuel” to transition from coal to renewable sources like wind and solar.
“The bridge is on fire and we need to get off the bridge and get to a new place immediately,” Mr. Larkin said.
Ms. Feldman noted that the former vice president has called for banning oil and gas drilling on public lands. She also said that even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders in policymaking, has acknowledged a role for natural gas as a way to reduce emissions from coal plants.
Of course, no Democratic plan has a chance without the White House, and no Democrat will win the presidency without swing states where the fossil fuel industry employs thousands, such as Pennsylvania, which Mr. Trump won by less than 1 percentage point. Mr. Biden was born in Scranton, Pa.