Biden Climate Plan `Inadvertently' Failed to Attribute Material

(Bloomberg) -- Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden released a $5 trillion climate change plan Tuesday with several passages lifted from other sources without attribution, which his campaign blamed on an oversight.

His campaign staff corrected the mistake by adding attribution, but the episode threatens to serve as a reminder to voters of the plagiarism scandal that hobbled Biden’s first presidential campaign more than 30 years ago.

“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,” Biden’s campaign said in a statement.“As soon as we were made aware of it, we updated to include the proper citations.”

The similarities between Biden’s plan and other documents surfaced shortly after it was released on Tuesday morning.

Josh Nelson, vice president of the progressive group Credo Mobile, pointed out on Twitter that Biden’s plan contained nearly identical language to documents from the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and the BlueGreen Alliance. Biden’s plan cribbed language about carbon capture from the first group’s website and from a 2017 letter the second group sent to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions declined to comment on the initial failure to cite their work.

“As a nonpartisan organization we do not coordinate with campaigns, but carbon capture should be an essential element in any comprehensive strategy to eliminate carbon emissions,” Alec Gerlach, a spokesman, said in a statement.

Mike Williams, interim co-executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance, acknowledged that the Biden campaign used language from publicly available documents on the group’s website, but he said the organization appreciates the emphasis campaigns have put on climate change.

“We’re fine with any of the candidates utilizing our policies and publicly available documents in their climate, infrastructure, or jobs plans,” Williams said in a statement. “The important thing is that candidates live up to their words and implement these important policies and investments.”

During his brief 1988 presidential campaign, Biden was accused of lifting passages for campaign speeches from a speech by Neil Kinnock, a British Labour Party leader. At the time he also acknowledged plagiarizing a law review article during his first year of law school, saying he didn’t understand the need to fully cite sources.

Biden dropped out of the race in September 1987.

The incident prompted renewed criticism of Biden from President Donald Trump, who described it as "a big problem."

"His other problem is that he is drawing flies, not people, to his Rallies," Trump said in a Wednesday morning tweet.

The former vice president’s climate change plan was released weeks after he faced criticism for reportedly seeking a “middle ground” on climate policy. It drew some praise from activist groups that have been pressuring Democrats to take bold action.

Biden proposes to achieve 100% clean energy and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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