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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The American Petroleum Institute is now supporting the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement and, separately, technology for capturing carbon dioxide.

Why it matters: These are subtle but important shifts reflecting the oil and natural gas industry’s reluctant and uneven embrace of climate change as a problem the government should address.

Driving the news:

  • On the Paris deal, spokesperson Ben Marter said, "API supports the ambitions of the 2015 agreement, including global action that reduces emissions and alleviates poverty around the world.”
  • When asked whether API supports the deal’s primary ambition to limit Earth's temperature rise to well below 2°C within this century, Marter said by phone: "Even though the technology does not yet exist to get us there, our companies are investing billions to get us there."
  • On carbon capture, Marter said API is lobbying for legislation pending in Congress that would encourage more of the tech.

The intrigue: Given that API is the largest and most diverse oil group, its public policies must encompass the views of its most progressive members, led by European producers, and its least progressive, such as many smaller, domestic producers and refiners.

Between the lines: The trade group is walking some fine lines here, including…

  • It doesn’t say that it supports the Paris deal itself, but the ambitions of it. That’s a subtle distinction made likely to distance itself from the extreme reductions in fossil-fuel emissions the deal implicitly calls for.
  • Current API CEO and president Mike Sommers hasn’t commented much (if at all) on the Paris deal publicly. His predecessor, Jack Gerard, made general statements about the need to address climate change when asked about the Paris deal.
  • API did not take a position on the expanded tax credit law for carbon capture when Congress was debating it a couple years ago and ultimately passed it early last year.`

One level deeper: When it comes to a carbon price, an API official says it only comments on specific legislation.

  • The group is reviewing a measure introduced by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), that would tax CO2 and return the money to citizens, according to that official.
  • That contrasts with the Natural Gas Supply Association, which publicly backed a generic carbon price last week. NGSA is far smaller and represents only producers of natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel that would be poised to gain on such a policy priced at low to medium levels.
  • A carbon price is considered a key policy component to cutting emissions that’s nonetheless politically toxic with nearly all Republicans (and some Democrats).

What I’m watching: How Sommers handles this topic and questions about it at the group’s annual luncheon early next month.

Go deeper: Industry lobbying rifts over climate change growing

Go deeper

Scoop: Border officials project 13,000 child migrants in May

The "El Chaparral" border crossing at Tijuana. Photo: Stringer/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

A Customs and Border Protection staffer told top administration officials Thursday the agency is projecting a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border in May, sources directly familiar with the discussion told Axios.

Why it matters: That projection would exceed the height of the 2019 crisis, which led to the infamous "kids-in-cages" disaster. It also underscores a rapidly escalating crisis for the Biden administration.

4 hours ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia facilities in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.