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Joe Biden’s pledge to “transition away from the oil industry” to address global warming put the topic of climate change on center stage for the final stretch of a campaign year in which the issue has played a larger role than ever.

Biden’s statement in the closing moments of Thursday’s debate gave President Donald Trump what his campaign saw as an enormous opportunity to blunt his opponent’s appeal to working-class voters. Biden’s campaign tried to downplay it, saying he was merely stating that he would phase out long-standing tax subsidies for the oil industry.

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