Biden: 'We're not getting rid of fossil fuels for a long time'

Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFighter jet escorts aircraft that entered restricted airspace during UN gathering Julian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy FBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp MORE couched his debate comments pledging to transition away from the oil industry Thursday, saying after the event in Nashville, Tenn., that the U.S. would not get rid of fossil fuels for a long time.

“Eventually we're going to have to go to oil, but we're not getting rid of fossil fuels. We're getting rid of the subsidies for fossil fuels, but we're not getting rid of fossil fuels for a long time,” Biden told reporters on the ground in Tennessee after the debate.

He then added that the transition away from fossil fuels would probably not happen until 2050.

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During the debate, Biden told the audience, “I would transition from the oil industry, yes.”

“It’s a big statement because the oil industry pollutes significantly. ... It has to be replaced by renewable energy over time.”

Neither statement is out of line with his climate plan, which calls for net-zero emissions by 2050, a process that would shift the U.S. away from fossil fuels. In his plan, he specifically calls for ending fossil fuel subsidies and barring any new oil and gas leases on public lands.

Biden has called for significant investments in clean energy as a way to provide a necessary alternative to fossil fuels. He sees the plan as part of his economic vision for job creation.

“They're not going to lose their jobs,” he said when asked about oil workers. “And besides, they're gonna ... there are a lot more jobs that are gonna be created in other alternatives.”