Joe Biden took a political risk on Thursday during his debate with Donald Trump by assuming that he wanted to turn away from the oil industry, on which the economy of several key states for the US presidential election largely depends.
"I will gradually turn away from the oil industry, yes," the Democratic candidate for the White House clearly said.
"I will stop because the oil industry pollutes considerably", he insisted, stressing that the latter had to be "replaced over time by renewable energies".
"It's a hell of a statement," Donald Trump retorted, calling voters from several industrial states to witness.
The President questioned:
"It's destroying the oil industry. Will you remember it in Texas? Will you remember it in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Ohio?"
Biden's plan promises 'economic disaster' (Trump)
The former New York businessman called his opponent's environmental plan an "economic disaster".
Democrats "want to destroy buildings so they can reduce the size of the windows," he said. "If it were up to them, there wouldn't even be any windows at all."
Trump accuses wind power of being very expensive
Donald Trump has also accused wind power of being "extremely expensive" and "very intermittent", and of "killing all birds".
He also denounced his opponent's hostility to shale gas, an industry on which many jobs in Pennsylvania depend, a pivotal state that the two candidates are fiercely fighting for.
Climate change major concern of Biden
Born in Pennsylvania, Joe Biden reiterated that he did not intend to ban shale gas development, but only to block the issuance of new permits on state-owned land.
Climate change is "an existential threat to humanity," he warned. "We have a moral obligation to deal with it."
Biden elected to join Paris Agreement
The former American vice-president had already pledged, in the event of a victory on November 3 at the polls, that the United States would join the Paris agreement on the climate as quickly as possible.
Donald Trump withdrew his country, which he felt was being treated unfairly compared to other polluting countries.
"Look how disgusting it is in China. Look at Russia, look at India. It's disgusting. The air is disgusting," he denounced Thursday evening.