Joe Biden’s 1988 presidential campaign came to an abrupt end well before the first primary due to a plagiarism scandal. Thirty years later, his 2020 campaign is facing similar charges, in what his campaign says was a mistake of improper citations.
Biden’s campaign released his climate change plan today, which received a warm review from our sister site Earther for its move towards innovation and call for a global movement to eradicate climate change. Upon further review, however, Business Insider reported that several lines in the plan were lifted directly from other sources without citation:
In Biden’s plan, the campaign writes about carbon capture technology:
“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.”
But in a letter Blue Green Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas sent to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, the sentence is virtually the exact same:
“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.”
The Blue Green Alliance example was first pointed out by CREDO Mobile Vice President Josh Nelson. Business Insider found other examples of the campaign using lines from the Carbon Capture Coalition’s Center for Climate and Energy Solutions think tank and the clean water advocacy group American Rivers. In a separate review, the right-wing website the Daily Caller also found examples of the plan that appear to have been lifted from Vox and climate.gov’s page on how climate change will affect tribal nations:
Biden: “Aviation accounts for nearly 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and that portion is expected to increase. Unfortunately today, few low-carbon technologies or fuels have been developed to tackle this challenge.”
Vox: “Aviation accounts for about 2 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and that share is poised to grow… few low-carbon technologies or fuels have been developed so far.”
Biden: “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.”
Climate.gov: “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.”
Biden’s 1988 campaign came to a crashing end after it was discovered that he had plagiarized former UK Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock in speeches. Biden also admitted, during the same campaign, to embellishing his academic record. More recently, a New York Times report from last week included an anecdote from that doomed 1988 campaign about Biden claiming he “marched in the civil rights movement,” a thing which never happened.
We’ve emailed the Biden campaign for comment and will update as soon as we receive a response. The campaign told Business Insider, however, that it was a mistake of oversight: “Several citations 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.”
As of the time of this publication, the Biden climate plan on the website had been edited to include citations for the Blue Green Alliance, CCES, and American Rivers claims, but hadn’t been edited to cite Vox or Climate.gov.