The climate change policy plan rolled out yesterday by Joe Biden’s presidential campaign appears to copy multiple passages from other websites.
The sentences — first reported on Twitter by Josh Nelson, CREDO Mobile vice president, and later by other outlets — concern carbon capture, water and climate change.
One of Nelson’s tweets says, "The paragraph in Joe Biden’s climate plan about carbon capture and sequestration includes language that is remarkably similar to items published previously by the Blue Green Alliance and the Carbon Capture Coalition."
The plan released yesterday morning would direct $1.7 trillion during the next decade to fighting climate change. It takes inspiration from the Green New Deal and would set a binding target for the United States to have net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, among other provisions (Climatewire, June 4).
Biden’s campaign didn’t respond to E&E News’ request for comment on the passages. But in a statement to Business Insider, the campaign characterized the issue as one of insufficient citations and said it has corrected them.
"Several citations were inadvertently left out of the final version of the 22-page document," the statement said. "As soon as we were made aware of it, we updated to include the proper citations."
When it was initially released, the plan said, "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 emissions."
That’s nearly identical to a passage in a 2017 letter from the BlueGreen Alliance to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee: "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."
Another section on carbon capture said, "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."
A page on the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions’ website about the Carbon Capture Coalition, which that group co-leads, says 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."
A passage on water infrastructure said, "The average American sewage pipe is 33 years old, with many pipes dating back 50 or even 100 years."
That’s identical to an American Rivers webpage, while a section on global warming’s impact on Alaska and its indigenous communities appears very similar to a paragraph on Climate.gov, a federal government website.
While Biden foes are surely to use the incident against him, it appears environmentalists are holding their fire.
Mike Williams, interim co-executive director at the Blue Green Alliance, addressed the issue in a statement.
"We’re fine with any of the candidates utilizing our policies and publicly available documents in their climate, infrastructure, or jobs plans," he said. "The important thing is that candidates live up to their words and implement these vital policies and investments."
Biden was previously hit with multiple academic and speech plagiarism accusations during his first campaign for president more than 30 years ago. He withdrew from the race largely due to the allegations.