Accused of Plagiarism, Biden Campaign Admits Lifting 'Carbon Capture' Section of Climate Plan From Fossil Fuel-Backed Group
By Jake Johnson
Almost immediately after releasing a climate plan Tuesday that green groups slammed as woefully inadequate in part due to its embrace of industry-backed proposals such as "carbon capture," presumptive 2020 Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden faced accusations of plagiarizing language from a number of sources, including a coalition consisting of major fossil fuel companies.
Josh Nelson, vice president of the progressive organization CREDO Mobile, was the first to highlight possible instances of plagiarism in Biden's plan, noting on Twitter that the section "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" — two organizations backed by major fossil fuel companies and labor unions.
"Membership of the Carbon Capture Coalition, where some of Biden's language seems to have originated, includes Shell, Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, and Cloud Peak Energy," wrote Nelson, who tweeted side-by-side screenshots of language from the Carbon Capture Coalition and Biden's plan.
In a paragraph about carbon capture, the former vice president's plan — which has since been updated with citations — read: "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."
The line from Biden's plan, as Business Insider reported, was "almost identical to the 'our work' section of the website for the Carbon Capture Coalition's Center for Climate and Energy Solutions."
"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," reads the Carbon Capture Coalition's website.
In response to the plagiarism accusations — which spread rapidly on social media and were picked up by a number of media outlets — Biden's presidential campaign said"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," the campaign said in a statement.
While some observers noted that it is hardly uncommon for presidential candidates to take policy language from advocacy groups and other sources, Nelson told USA Today that parts of Biden's plan stood out because they "looked like the type of thing the coal industry, trade groups, and coal companies themselves say about carbon capture and sequestration."
On the left, Joe Biden’s climate plan. Source: https://t.co/WHWvRK784s On the right, a description of the Carbon C… https://t.co/SNBy5Fe0Iz— Josh Nelson (@Josh Nelson)1559652331.0
Biden, who has a long history of plagiarism scandals, has yet to personally comment on the accusations.
In a Twitter thread on Tuesday, climate researcher and University of California, Santa Barbara professor Leah Stokes said Biden's proposal to confront the climate crisis — which was released amid growing pressure and criticism from grassroots environmental groups — reads like a "cribbed plan."
"As a professor, I've seen plagiarism before," Stokes wrote. "It's like his team copied off of his competitors, using all the same keywords ('environmental justice,' 'Green New Deal') but with less substance."
"I have no problem with campaigns borrowing ideas with one another," Stokes added. "But there needs to be substance and commitment behind those plans. I am wary that we will find empty words with the Biden team."
"And, Vice President Biden has committed that Biden for President will not accept contributions from oil, gas and c… https://t.co/q2hqWFQowh— Leah Stokes (@Leah Stokes)1559675998.0
Green groups echoed Stokes' concerns about the substance of Biden's plan prior to accusations that parts of the proposal were lifted straight from industry-friendly organizations.
In a statement following the release of Biden's plan on Tuesday, Wenonah Hauter — executive director of Food & Water Action — described the proposal as "a cobbled-together assortment of weak emissions targets and unproven technological schemes that fail to adequately address the depth and urgency of the climate crisis we face."
"This plan cannot be considered a serious proposal to tackle climate change," Hauter said. "Biden's focus on 'net zero' emissions, carbon capture programs, and vague pollution pricing schemes all point to one outcome: a society continuing to be dominated by fossil fuels, and a future of irrevocable climate chaos."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
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The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.
By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma
Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.
A Good News Story?<p>On the surface, the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/fwb.13569" target="_blank">results from our study</a> appear to provide a "good news" story. Warming temperatures were linked to higher numbers of fish, more species overall and, therefore, potentially more fishing opportunities for northerners.</p><p>Initially, we were surprised to learn that warming was increasing the distribution of cold-adapted fish. We reasoned that modest amounts of warming could lead to benefits such as increased food and winter habitat availability without reaching stressful levels for many species.</p>
Photo of Arctic grayling (left) and Dolly Varden trout (right). Alyssa Murdoch / Lilian Tran / Nunavik Research Centre and Tracey Loewen / Fisheries and Oceans Canada<p>Yet, not all fish species fared equally well. Ecologically unique northern species — those that have evolved in colder, more nutrient-poor environments, such as Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden trout — were showing declines with warming.</p>
Fish Strandings and Buried Eggs<p>Recent news headlines run the gamut for Pacific salmon — from their increased escapades <a href="https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/more-pacific-salmon-showing-up-in-western-arctic-waters/" target="_blank">into the Arctic</a> to <a href="https://www.juneauempire.com/news/warm-waters-across-alaska-cause-salmon-die-offs/" target="_blank">massive pre-spawning die-offs</a> in central Alaska. Similarly, results from our study revealed different outcomes for fish depending on local climatic conditions, including Pacific salmon.</p><p>We found that warmer spring and fall temperatures may be helping juvenile salmon by providing a longer and more plentiful growing season, and by supporting early egg development in northern regions that were previously too cold for survival.</p><p>In contrast, salmon declined in regions that were experiencing wetter fall conditions, pointing to an increased risk of flooding and sedimentation that could bury or dislodge incubating eggs.</p>
Headwaters of the Wind River within the largely intact Peel River watershed in northern Canada. Don Reid / Wildlife Conservation Society Canada / Author provided<p>Interestingly, we found that certain climatic combinations, such as warmer summer water temperatures with decreased summer rainfall, were important in determining where Pacific salmon could survive. Summer warming in drier watersheds led to declines, suggesting that lowered streamflows may have increased the risk of fish becoming stranded in subpar habitats that were too warm and crowded.</p>
The Fate of Northern Fisheries<p>The promise of a warmer and more accessible Arctic has attracted mounting interest in new economic opportunities, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2019.103637" target="_blank">including fisheries</a>. As warming rates at higher latitudes are already <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank">two to three times global levels</a>, it seems probable that northern biodiversity will experience dramatic shifts in the coming decades.</p><p>Despite the many unknowns surrounding the future of Pacific salmon, many fisheries are currently <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/03632415.2017.1374251" target="_blank">thriving following warmer and more productive northern oceans</a>, and some <a href="https://doi.org/10.14430/arctic68876" target="_blank">Arctic Indigenous communities are developing new salmon fisheries</a>.</p><p>As warming continues, the commercial salmon fishing industry is poised to expand northwards, but its success will largely depend on extenuating factors such as <a href="https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060023067" target="_blank">changes to marine habitat and food sources</a> and <a href="https://www.yukon-news.com/news/promising-chinook-salmon-run-failed-to-materialize-in-the-yukon-river-panel-hears/" target="_blank">how many fish are caught during the freshwater stages of their journey</a>.</p><p>Even with the potential for increased northern biodiversity, it is important to recognize that some northern communities may be unable to adapt or may <a href="https://thenarwhal.ca/searching-for-the-yukon-rivers-missing-chinook/" target="_blank">lose individual species that are associated with important cultural values</a>.</p>
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By Joni Sweet
If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Interviews With Contact Tracers<p>Contact tracing is a public health strategy that involves identifying everyone who may have been in contact with a person who has the coronavirus. Contact tracers collect information and provide guidance to help contain the transmission of disease.</p><p>It's been used during outbreaks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), Ebola, measles, and now the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.</p><p>It starts when the local department of health gets a report of a confirmed case of the coronavirus in its community and gives that person a call. The contact tracer usually provides information on how to isolate and when to get treatment, then tries to figure out who else the person may have exposed.</p><p>"We ask who they've been in contact with in the 48 hours prior to symptom onset, or 2 days before the date of their positive test if they don't have symptoms," said <a href="https://case.edu/medicine/healthintegration/people/heidi-gullett" target="_blank">Dr. Heidi Gullett</a>, associate director of the Center for Community Health Integration at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and medical director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health in Ohio.</p>
“You’ve Been Exposed”<p>After the case interview, contact tracers will get to work calling the folks who may have been exposed to the coronavirus by the person who tested positive.</p><p>"We give them recommendations about quarantining or isolating, getting tested, and what to do if they become sick. If they're not already sick, we still want them to self-quarantine so that they don't spread the disease to anyone else if they were to become sick," said Labus.</p><p>Generally, the contact tracer won't ask for additional contacts unless they happen to call someone who is sick or has a confirmed case of the virus. They will help ensure the contact has the resources they need to isolate themselves, if necessary. The contact tracer may continue to stay in touch with that person over the next 14 days.</p><p>"We follow the percentage of people that were contacts, then converted into being actual cases of the virus. It's an important marker to help us understand what kind of transmission happens in our community and how to control the virus," said Gullett.</p>
Why You Should Participate (and What Happens If You Don’t)<p>A <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30457-6/fulltext" target="_blank">Lancet study</a> from June 16, which looked at data from more than 40,000 people, found that COVID-19 transmission could be reduced by 64 percent through isolating those who have the coronavirus, quarantining their household, and contacting the people they may have exposed.</p><p>The combination strategy was significantly more effective than mass random testing or just isolating the sick person and members of their household.</p><p>However, contact tracing is only as effective as people's willingness to participate, and a small number of people who've contracted the coronavirus or were potentially exposed are reluctant to talk.</p><p>"Contact tracers have all been hung up on, cussed at, yelled at," said Gullet.</p><p>The hesitation to talk to contact tracers often stems from concerns over privacy — a serious issue in healthcare.</p>
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