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Biden Campaign Tweaks Climate Policy After Report Highlighting Similar Language

 


 

By Nicholas Wu


June 5, 2019 - Following a report by the Daily Caller that the Biden campaign website appeared to have plagiarized passages in its newly released climate policy proposal from advocacy groups, the U.S. government, and a river conservation nonprofit, Joe Biden's campaign website has added attribution for several statements relating to climate change. 


On Tuesday morning, the Biden campaign released an ambitious 22-page climate plan that pledged to go "beyond the Obama-Biden Administration platform" on climate. 


"As President, I will lead America — and the world — not only to confront the crisis in front of us — but to seize the opportunity it presents," said Biden in a video released along with the plan. 


After the release of the climate plan, the campaign was hit with allegations that it had plagiarized some of the talking points in a 22-page document. And late Tuesday afternoon, the campaign sought to clear up the matter, issuing a statement that said several citations in its plan "were inadvertently left out of the final version." 


Josh Nelson, Vice President of CREDO, a liberal advocacy group, tweeted Tuesday morning that Biden's climate plan looked "remarkably similar to items" published by two other climate advocacy groups, the Blue Green Alliance and the Carbon Capture Coalition. 

 


Nelson, who has a background in environmental advocacy, told USA TODAY that the language in the sections on carbon capture did not look like typical presidential campaign language. Instead, "It looked like the type of thing the coal industry, trade groups, and coal companies themselves say about carbon capture and sequestration," he told USA TODAY.  


"So I grabbed a couple phrases of that language, and copied and pasted directly into Google," he said, and then found that sections of the proposal were the same as previously posted sources. 


The Daily Caller first published a story at 1:51 p.m. on Tuesday reporting on Nelson's tweet and highlighting three other instances of "similarly phrased excerpts."


The Biden campaign issued a statement Tuesday responding to questions of plagiarism: "Several citations, some from sources cited in other parts of the plan, were inadvertently left out of the final version of the 22 page document. As soon as we were made aware of it, we updated to include the proper citations."


USA TODAY has confirmed at least five instances in which the Biden campaign has updated parts of its climate change platform to add attribution. The campaign added attribution, but USA TODAY accessed thte original version of the climate proposal through the Internet WayBack machine.


The Allegations of Plagiarism 


Biden website: "Carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS) is a rapidly growing technology that has the potential to create economic benefits for multiple industries while significantly reducing carbon dioxide emission."


September 26, 2017 letter from the Blue Green Alliance to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works: "Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is a rapidly growing technology that has potential to create economic benefits for multiple industries while significantly reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions."


Biden website: "Biden’s goal is to make CCUS a widely available, cost-effective, and rapidly scalable solution to reduce carbon emissions to meet mid-century climate goals."


Carbon Capture Coalition website: "The Carbon Capture Coalition brings together energy and industrial technology companies, labor unions, and energy and environmental policy organizations. Its goal is to make carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) a widely available, cost-effective, and rapidly scalable solution to reduce carbon emissions to meet mid-century climate goals."


Biden website: "The average American sewage pipe is 33 years old, with many pipes dating back 50 or even 100 years." 


American Rivers website : "As a result, the average American sewage pipe is 33 years old, with many pipes dating back 50 or even 100 years."


Biden website: "And 40% of the 567 federally recognized tribes in U.S. live in Alaska where the rapid pace of rising temperatures and melting sea ice and glaciers threaten the critical infrastructure and traditional livelihoods in the state."


U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit: "Of the 567 federally recognized tribes in the United States, 40 percent (229 tribes) live in Alaska Native communities. The rapid pace of rising temperatures, melting sea ice and glaciers, and thawing permafrost in Alaska is having a significant negative impact on critical infrastructure and traditional livelihoods in the state."


Joe Biden withdrew from his first campaign for president in 1987 after it was revealed that he had plagiarized lines of a debate speech from British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock.


At the time, New York Times reporter Maureen Dowd noted the similarities between Biden's speech and Kinnock's, observing how Biden "lifted Mr. Kinnock's closing speech with phrases, gestures and lyrical Welsh syntax intact for his own closing speech at a debate at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 23 - without crediting Mr. Kinnock."