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Biden Accused of Plagiarizing Parts of Climate-Change Plan

Joe Biden gives a pep talk to Dallas County high school students during a campaign event at the SPARK! educational center in Dallas, Texas, May 29, 2019. (Brandon Wade/Reuters)

Former vice president Joe Biden, who currently enjoys a hefty lead over his opponents for the Democratic presidential nomination, released his plan to combat climate change on Tuesday and was promptly accused of plagiarizing parts of the proposal.

The sections in question appeared to lift language from documents published by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and the Blue Green Alliance. The vice president of the progressive group CREDO, Josh Nelson, noted the double language Tuesday morning, pointing out that passages from Biden’s plan nearly mirror sentences from a 2017 letter the Blue Green Alliance sent to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

The Biden campaign responded to the controversy by insisting the drafters had simply forgotten to include citations.

“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,” a Biden spokesperson said. “As soon as we were made aware of it, we updated to include the proper citations.”

Biden’s plan proposes a $1.7 trillion investment in clean energy to help the U.S. achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The former vice president also wants to prohibit drilling for oil and gas on public land and has, like several of his rivals for the nomination, pledged that his campaign will reject money from fossil-fuel companies. His plan does not go as far as Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposal, released Tuesday as well, which would put the U.S. on a track for net-zero emissions decades by 2030.

This is not the first time a Biden presidential campaign has been interrupted with a plagiarism scandal. In 1988, his bid for the presidency was sunk by accusations that he plagiarized a speech by British politician Neil Kinnock.

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