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On Wednesday, April 21, Axios managing editor Margaret Talev and energy reporter Ben Geman kicked off Axios' Energy Forward series with a virtual event on the politics and policy surrounding sustainability impact the groundwork for advancements in energy efficiency and new technologies, featuring Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Southern Company chairman, president, and CEO Thomas Fanning and GE Chairman & CEO Larry Culp.

Sen. Manchin discussed bipartisan consensus on energy and environmental policy, and highlighted the need for innovation in technologies that are cleaning up the environment.

  • On investing in new technology and research: "Through innovation, [we should] create new technologies so that fossil [fuels] can be used in the cleanest fashion and in the most prudent way without emitting greenhouse gases. If you really care about the climate, you better make sure that we have the research and technology...that's going to give us the answers."
  • On his view that more than a majority in the Senate should be needed to pass energy or climate legislation: “You have to on the legislation that’s good for our country.”

Larry Culp discussed the private sector's approach to energy challenges like climate change, as well as the U.S.'s evolving approach to a range of energy sources.

  • On supporting decarbonization through policymaking: "I think our hope would be that we'd focus on technology-neutral policies that allow us to move as rapidly as we can toward decarbonization...Longer-term, clear investing in technologies like hydrogen, like carbon capture, advanced nuclear are going to be part of further abating those emissions."
  • On a mixed approach to energy sources: "Gas, in concert with renewables and in addition to the grid technologies...will help us not only in the U.S. but more broadly around the world, reach the climate objectives that we have."

Thomas Fanning unpacked the upcoming infrastructure package and its impact on the energy sector, as well as meeting national climate goals.

  • On renewables in Southern Company's energy approach: "By the time we get to net-zero, you should expect to see about half of our generation being renewables. The lion's share of that is going to be solar...Gas will either be managed with carbon capture technology or we will still emit some carbon, but we will offset that carbon with a net negative carbon strategy."
  • On needing federal support to meet climate goals: "[If] reaching net-zero by 2035 becomes the policy of the administration, we're going to need all the help of the federal government to achieve this worthy goal. I don't think it's something we can just do on our own."

Thank you GE for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Report: Climate change is an "emerging threat" to U.S. economic stability

A firefighter watches an airplane drop fire retardant ahead of the Alisal fire near Goleta on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. Photo: Luis Sinco, Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A top U.S. financial coordinating organization took several steps on Thursday to manage the growing risks that climate change poses to the U.S. financial system.

Why it matters: While the Biden administration has been taking an all-of-government approach to climate change, like factoring climate risk into planning at the Treasury Department, today's moves by the politically independent Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) carry significant weight.

44 mins ago - World

"I assume full responsibility," Duterte says of drug war

Rodrigo Duterte in 2017. Photo: Linus Escandor II/AFP via Getty Images

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday that he assumes full responsibility for a violent war on drugs that has killed thousands of people, Reuters reported.

Why it matters: Last month the International Criminal Court (ICC) formally authorized an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity during Duterte's war on drugs.

CDC approves boosters for Moderna and J&J and mix-and-match

Boxes containing vials of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's independent advisory panel voted unanimously to recommend booster doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine and allow people to mix-and-match doses.

The big picture: The agency aligns with the Food and Drug Administration authorization Wednesday night which said people could switch to whichever vaccine they wanted for their booster shot.