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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched a "clean energy accelerator" this morning to help advance startups with climate-friendly technologies.

Why it matters: It's the latest step in the tech sector's expanding climate work, even as the industry remains under pressure from activists over its work with oil-and-gas clients.

How it works: Amazon plans to select 10 startups for a five-week program to provide help in areas like training, marketing, business pilot opportunities and more.

  • The applicants will have access to AWS computing, machine learning, analytics and other services.
  • The program also offers "collaboration opportunities with AWS energy customers," it said.
  • They're looking for startups working in energy storage, carbon capture, hydrogen, smart grids and other technologies.
  • AWS is working in conjunction with the firm Freshwater Advisors, which helps connect startups with large corporations.

Catch up fast: In late 2019, Amazon vowed to become net-zero emissions by 2040 and has recruited other companies to join its "climate pledge."

  • Its overall climate efforts include a big contract with the electric vehicle startup Rivian for electric delivery vans; renewable power procurement; and venture investing.

What they're saying: Amazon, in announcing the accelerator, called it part of the path toward meeting the 2040 pledge.

  • "This commitment will require innovation from large scale, established organizations to startups across the energy industry," said AWS vice president of energy Shane Owenby.

Go deeper: Amazon smashes Q1 2021 results

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
May 5, 2021 - Energy & Environment

The supply crunch that could slow the climate fight

Data: IEA; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Soaring amounts of key minerals used in clean energy tech are needed to fight climate change, but costs and supply risks could create big headwinds, a new International Energy Agency analysis finds.

Why it matters: "Today’s mineral supply and investment plans fall short of what is needed to transform the energy sector, raising the risk of delayed or more expensive energy transitions," IEA warns.

Teachers across the U.S. protest laws restricting racism lessons

Thousands of teachers and other educators held protests across the U.S. Saturday against the actions of "at least 15 Republican-led states" that aim to restrict teaching about racism in class, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: There were demonstrations in at least 22 cities for the "Day of Action" to raise awareness about moves to limit students' exposure to critical race theory, which links racial discrimination to the nation's foundations and legal system, per Axios' Russell Contreras.

Updated 5 hours ago - Health

Lawsuit challenging Houston Methodist's COVID vaccine mandate dismissed

Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

A federal judge on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit brought by 117 Houston Methodist staff over the hospital's policy requiring all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why it matters: This is the first federal court ruling on a coronavirus vaccine mandate. Attorney Jared Woodfill, representing the plaintiffs, told KHOU 11 it's "the first battle in a long fight," as he vowed to file another lawsuit soon.