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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The climate plans released this week by Democratic presidential candidates Joe BidenJay Inslee and Elizabeth Warren each include provisions to end U.S. government support for new fossil fuel investment overseas.

Why it matters: Many new coal plants — up to 91% in Asia, for example — receive public development support from state-owned enterprises, foreign governments and export credit agencies, or multilateral development banks (MDBs). Reduced access to such financing could mean fewer new plants burning coal, the most carbon-intensive energy source.

Background: Private foreign investors seek high returns when foregoing safer investments in the West, so they are less likely to finance new coal plants in emerging markets if public financing is not available.

  • That's why public money has been needed to help lower the risks of such projects, as China, Japan, South Korea and the U.S. have done across South and Southeast Asia.

What's happening: The Biden and Inslee plans would end financial support for new coal from agencies like the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (USIDFC), the Export-Import Bank and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, in addition to working with China and other OECD nations on their own commitments.

  • Warren, in contrast, has focused on ending oil and gas lending from the Export-Import Bank and USIDFC and does not specifically address coal or OECD talks.

Flashback: The Obama administration had announced an end to coal finance, with some exceptions for the world's poorest countries, and negotiated limits on coal finance from export credit agencies with the OECD. It also worked with the World Bank on coal restrictions that were quickly adopted across most MDBs and development finance institutions (DFIs).

What to watch: Inslee's plan proposes that the U.S. join the Power Past Coal Alliance (PPCA), a group of global governments working to phase out coal power, and use its leverage to pressure countries like China.

  • Biden's current plan does not include phasing out coal by 2030, a prerequisite for PPCA membership, though criticism for not taking a strong enough stand on climate could push him to be more aggressive.

The bottom line: Limiting public financial support for new coal plants around the world— 338 GW of which are at a pre-construction stage — could keep developers from bringing all of those online.

Justin Guay directs global climate strategy at the Sunrise Project and advises the ClimateWorks Foundation.

Go deeper

Chris Cuomo accuser: On-air "hypocrisy" spurred report

Journalist Chris Cuomo. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

A woman who accused fired CNN journalist Chris Cuomo of sexual misconduct said Sunday she decided to come forward after learning of his comments about women who made similar accusations about his brother. He denies her allegations.

Why it matters: Her attorney Debra Katz said in a statement that she heard "the hypocrisy" of his on-air words about his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was "disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women," so "retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN."

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Vulnerable Democrats: Less Trump talk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Vulnerable House Democrats are convinced they need to talk less about the man who helped them get elected: President Trump.

Why it matters: Democrats are privately concerned nationalizing the 2022 mid-terms with emotionally-charged issues — from Critical Race Theory to Donald Trump's role in the Jan. 6 insurrection — will hamstring their ability to sell the local benefits of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda.