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On Wednesday, June 9, Axios co-founder Mike Allen and politics reporter Hans Nichols explored the Biden administration’s infrastructure proposal, from the policies on the table to the bipartisan negotiations to get it passed, featuring White House National Economic Council director Brian Deese, House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) and chair Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby.

Brian Deese discussed President Biden's commitment to outreach to Republicans, as well as the importance of investing in the future of American infrastructure.

  • "This is a global race to win the markets of the twenty-first century...I think that these investments are calibrated for the moment we find ourselves in to win that future, to win the clean energy markets of the future."

Rep. DeFazio unpacked debate over the surface transportation bill and various sticking points for both parties.

  • The major stumbling block with my committee Republicans is climate change. They do not want my surface transportation bill to address climate change because they can't say or they don't believe in it...We can work together on a lot of things, but they just will not address climate change.

Rep. Davis discussed the concerns from local officials and county commissioners, country commissioners in his district with regards to infrastructure funding.

  • "They talked about the need for a more certain regulatory environment. They're concerned that they can't get projects approved, especially as we're getting out of COVID."

Axios CEO and co-founder Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with Scott Kirby, who highlighted the role of the airline industry in infrastructure debates, as well as their dedication to safe travel.

  • "The biggest thing that we're focused on in the near term is really in the infrastructure bill and what can be done around climate change initiatives. And in the shorter term, how do we get borders open?... [So] we can start to safely open those up, get those parts of the economy cranking up again, get people back to connecting."

Thank you United Airlines for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Updated Sep 22, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on bold climate commitments

On Wednesday, September 22nd, Axios co-founder Mike Allen and energy reporter Ben Geman hosted a virtual conversation on the innovative approaches climate leaders are undertaking to reshape standards for sustainability initiatives in 2022 and beyond, featuring White House national climate adviser Gina McCarthy and Environmental Defense Fund president Fred Krupp.

Gina McCarthy explained the Biden administration’s recent environmental priorities, the importance of mobilizing different communities to fight climate change, and how the White House is incentivizing private industries to reduce their emissions.   

  • On addressing extreme heat problems: "I think everybody’s beginning to understand as the President tours the sites of wildfires and flooding and other really big challenges like drought, there’s this silent killer for climate change that’s called excess heat, that really doesn’t get enough attention."
  • On cross-agency collaboration on climate change at a federal level: “It’s an exciting moment where people across the federal government are working together in ways they have never done before, not just to tackle wildfires and droughts and flooding and heat stress, but also to tackle the challenge of how we motivate our business sector and send them all the signals you would want us to send that shows that President Biden is committed to achieving net zero in 2050, and knows that this decade is a decisive decade.”

Fred Krupp highlighted how companies must be held accountable to pledges to reduce their emissions, how some corporations are breaking with lobby associations to become more vocal about climate change (and others are not), and how he believes debates surrounding the infrastructure bill will play out in the near future. 

  • On how corporate lobbying has fallen short: “Right now, we don’t see enough corporations lobbying on behalf of the climate sections of the reconciliation bill. This bill that’s pending in Congress is our once in a decade opportunity to get something done on climate.” 
  • On public support for the infrastructure bill: “I see an enormous amount of support in the American public for moving ahead with a sort of clean energy economy that are going to create tremendous numbers of jobs, clean the air, make people healthier.” 

Axios VP of Communications Yolanda Brignoni hosted a View from the Top segment with GE’s Chief Sustainability Officer Roger Martella, who discussed how GE is following through on their ESG goals by investing in sustainable energy technologies. 

  • “We create some of the most technically complex and critical technologies the world needs, and we’re focused today on innovating these technologies on a path to decarbonization.” 

Thank you GE for sponsoring this event.

Updated Sep 17, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on powering up clean energy jobs

On Friday, September 17, Axios Climate & Energy reporter Andrew Freedman and Energy reporter Ben Geman hosted a virtual conversation on what building a fair economy with quality clean energy jobs could look like, featuring The Honorable Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and BlueGreen Alliance executive director Jason Walsh.

Sen. Alex Padilla explained how the infrastructure bill puts forth investments toward the environment, the urgency of acting on climate change at a legislative level, and how recent climate emergencies have underscored that urgency. 

  • In response to questions about climate investments in the infrastructure bill: “We need to act with urgency, we need to act boldly, that’s half the equation. It’s okay to have questions on what the price tag is, but of equal importance is knowing that we’re doing this in a fiscally responsible way.” 
  • On garnering necessary bipartisan support for the infrastructure bill to pass: “I do believe we’re going to get to yes at the end of the day, and that end of the day is going to be in the weeks ahead, not the months ahead, because of the urgency that I just laid out.” 

Jason Walsh highlighted the important intersection between climate action and clean energy jobs, the challenges of creating high-quality jobs in the power sector, and how budget reconciliation would help to meet clean energy job goals. 

  • On addressing crises relating to job creation, economic and racial inequality, and the climate emergency: “We have the ability with budget reconciliation to advance solutions to these crises that are as mutually reinforcing and intersecting as their causes. We feel like we can’t afford not to take advantage of this opportunity.”
  • On why budget reconciliation must address the lack of high-quality clean energy jobs: “Not enough of the clean energy jobs that have been created are high quality and union. They have not been created at scale in some of the communities and parts of the country that need them the most, and the lived experience of workers dislocated from incumbent industries, coal mining and power plants, doesn’t meet any reasonable standard of fairness and justice.”

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 17, 2021 - Energy & Environment

The uncertain showdown between Democrats and Big Oil

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.). Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Big Oil companies are noncommittal about testifying before a House panel probing the industry's role in spreading misinformation about climate change.

Catch up fast: Top House Oversight and Reform Committee Democrats yesterday sent letters to Exxon, Shell, BP and Chevron — as well as two key lobbying groups — asking top execs to testify Oct. 28.

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