Since entering the 2020 race last month, Mr. Biden has remained largely above the Democratic fray, but on Monday he was clearly rebutting rivals like Mr. Sanders. He is currently one of Mr. Biden’s strongest competitors, especially here in New Hampshire, which holds the first primary in the 2020 nomination contest.
Mr. Sanders appeared to criticize Mr. Biden when he tweeted Friday that “there is no ‘middle ground’ when it comes to climate policy.” Mr. Sanders was set to appear at a Green New Deal rally Monday evening in Washington.
Polls show that combating climate change is a top concern for Democratic primary voters. Mr. Biden has generally led the early polls in the Democratic field, but he faces skepticism from the left wing of his party over parts of his decades-long record, including on criminal justice and abortion rights.
On Monday he sought to emphasize that he has a history of championing the environment. He detailed efforts that he and former President Barack Obama took to protect the environment, while also aiming to strike a balance between tough rhetoric and his more centrist record and political instincts.
“We do need, we do need to face this green revolution,” he said, “in a way that’s rational, we can do it, afford it, and get it done now.”