Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Apple aims to ensure that within 10 years every product it sells will have a net zero impact on climate change, the tech giant announced Tuesday.

The big picture: The new goal is the latest by global technology companies looking to go big on climate change even while they face growing scrutiny over the main thrust of their businesses, namely antitrust concerns.

Where it stands: Apple has previously announced other climate goals, like powering all its facilities with 100% renewable energy, but this one is notable for its exhaustive nature covering its supply chains and the relatively quick timeline of 10 years.

Why it matters: Apple's biggest carbon footprint comes from the computers, phones and other devices made in manufacturing plants around the world that it doesn’t have direct control over, so this plan will shed light on how to neutralize the climate impact of complex supply chains.

What they’re saying: The coronavirus may delay the rollout of the next iPhone, but it won't slow down Apple’s climate goals. "My concern isn't in not doing it," said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s chief sustainability officer, in an interview with Axios Monday.

  • "It's really important that as businesses are looking forward, they look at climate change as a challenge which they can continue to tackle even in the face of building back."

How it works: By working with its suppliers around the world and using ever-more recycled material for its products, Apple says it can cut 75% of its emissions within 10 years.

  • The remaining 25% it hopes to reduce by forming what it’s calling a “carbon solutions fund,” which will invest money (an amount Apple isn’t disclosing) in natural ways —i.e., planting and then cutting down trees in a sustainable manner — to offset the remaining quarter of emissions.
  • That fund is "meant to have a return to the investor," said Jackson, adding that's the way to tackle climate change, by ensuring a company can make money in it.
  • Company officials say this isn’t the same as engaging in official "carbon offset" programs, wherein people purchase credits to cancel out carbon footprints by ostensibly preventing emissions elsewhere (by, for instance, planting trees).
  • Among other specific developments, it's announcing a new robot the company is calling Dave (to go along with current robot Daisy) that can recover rare earth material from recycled iphones.

What we're watching: Despite President Trump's near complete retreat on the topic, corporations are increasingly competitive with each other on their climate strategies, and tech companies especially so. These pronouncements are often a messy mix of empty rhetoric and varying levels of concrete action.

  • Microsoft announced earlier this year it would be carbon neutral by 2030 and cancel out all its emissions since its 1975 founding.
  • Amazon, which has faced the most criticism for its climate policies from its own employees, said last September it will be carbon neutral by 2040. While 10 years earlier than the Paris Climate Agreement, that goal is fast becoming a laggard in the tech space.

Reality check: What tech companies do on climate change does raise awareness of the topic, considering how consumer-facing these firms are. But the corporate climate goals that arguably matter most are the producers of oil, natural gas and coal, given they're the biggest reasons for climate change.

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Epic sues Apple, Google as Fortnite is pulled from app stores

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Fortnite maker Epic Games on Thursday escalated its battle over Apple's App Store tactics, suing the tech giant over antitrust claims while also baiting Apple into dropping Fortnite from the App Store. Later in the day, Epic filed suit against Google as well after that company dropped Fortnite from the Google Play Store.

The big picture: Epic is just one of several developers clashing with Apple. They argue the company harms competition by taking a cut of up to 30% on in-app purchases and subscriptions and blocking most developers from getting around the tax by charging their users directly.

Wind and solar power hit record global market shares in first half of 2020

Reproduced from Ember; Chart: Axios Visuals

A steep decline in coal-fired power combined with rising wind and solar output drove the carbon-free sources to record global market share in the first half of 2020, per a new analysis from the environmental think tank Ember.

Why it matters: The report shows how the coronavirus pandemic is speeding the ongoing shakeup of the global power mix — but also how it's occurring too slowly to reach international climate goals.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 20,755,406 — Total deaths: 752,225— Total recoveries: 12,917,934Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 5,246,760 — Total deaths: 167,052 — Total recoveries: 1,774,648 — Total tests: 64,831,306Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats to investigate scientist leading "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine projectMcConnell announces Senate will not hold votes until Sept. 8 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. 2020: Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandateBiden and Harris to receive coronavirus briefings 4 times a week.
  5. States: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate.
  6. Business: Why the CARES Act makes 2020 the best year for companies to lose money.
  7. Public health: Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments Cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable.