Candidate Biden was squishy on fracking. His new climate adviser, a Stanford prof, is not.
Then-presidential candidate Joe Biden made statements about fracking that often contradicted one another.
However, one Stanford professor, whom President-elect Biden has appointed to lead the White House climate team, is clearer regarding his stance on fracking, an important industry in Pennsylvania, the adviser's home state.
President-elect Joe Biden tapped Ali Zaidi, a professor at Stanford University, to serve as Deputy White House Climate Coordinator. Zaidi is just one of several U.S. academics whom Biden has appointed to work in his incoming presidential administration.
He previously worked as the Associate Director for Natural Resources, Energy, and Science for the Obama administration’s White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Zaidi helped negotiate the Paris Climate Agreement, which aimed to restrict the increase in global temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The Trump administration withdrew from the agreement in 2017. Biden, upon taking office Wednesday, is expected to rejoin the climate agreement via executive order.
“For our planet and the people who live here, the peril of the climate crisis is already evident,” said Zaidi in a statement following his appointment. “But we can also see the promise in the jobs — casting and machining, installing and rewiring, pouring new foundations and building new industries.”
Zaidi is supportive of Biden’s goal to “achieve a carbon-pollution free electricity sector by 2035.”
As president, I’ll put America on a path to achieve a carbon-pollution free electricity sector by 2035 — a path that no future president can turn back.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 20, 2020
Zaidi added that his parents “moved from Pakistan to Pennsylvania,” bringing “two little kids — and a few suitcases of dreams.” He frequently speaks about his love for his home state, which counts fracking — the use of hydraulics to break apart rocks and harvest oil or gas — as one of its major industries.
Pennsylvania. My home. My heart. I love you.
— Ali A. Zaidi (@ali_a_zaidi) November 7, 2020
During the 2020 campaign, Biden frequently suggested a ban on fracking, despite later claiming that he had no intention to do so. Zaidi, in a discussion with a Columbia University podcast, touted in June 2020 his role in New York's fracking ban.
"Yeah, the budget deal that came together in April this year, codified the fracking ban in the state and in some ways, stapled shut the commitment that the governors made, ensuring that we’re not going to be adding to the challenge, the mountain is already too steep, on climate, we don’t need to make it more steep by investing in long life infrastructure that’s going to have a hard time depreciating during the time period we need to decarbonize," Zaidi said.
However, a recent study from the United States Chamber of Commerce estimates that a ban on fracking would cost Zaidi's home state of Pennsylvania more than 600,000 jobs, as well as a $261 billion overall loss in Gross Domestic Product, as well as a $4,654 increase in cost of living per capita.
Campus Reform reached out to Zaidi for comment and will update this article accordingly.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft