Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Meet Bill Gates. You know him most as the co-founder of Microsoft and one of the richest people on the planet.

Why he matters: I know him as an advocate for climate change and clean energy. Gates has long worked on these issues, but here's what's new for the tech visionary: He's increasingly worried not enough people understand the dimensions of the problem and that it's going to prevent progress. This escalation was on display in an interview with “Axios on HBO.”

The intrigue: Talking recently at his private offices overlooking the water in Kirkland, Washington, near Seattle, Gates went wonky more than he went visionary. He didn’t criticize President Trump’s positions dismissing climate change, even though he's spent a significant amount of energy trying to change his mind.

  • Instead, Gates is sounding the alarm about discord over how to solve the problem. He said people who are laser focused on solving climate change with renewable energy only — chiefly wind and solar — are just as bad as those blocking action (i.e., Trump).

Some grassroots environmental groups, led by 350.org, have found support for a renewables-only strategy in Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D.-N.Y.), a rising progressive star who is pushing for such a policy with Democrats now controlling the House.

“That general impression that ‘Oh, it's just about solar and wind,’ that I think is as dangerous to us as the fact that in one country, the U.S., there's a faction that associates with ‘Hey, let's not make any trade-offs to go in and solve this problem.’ ”
— Bill Gates

Gates and his team devised a pie chart which he brought up repeatedly throughout the interviewshowing the causes of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Wind and solar are used for electricity, which makes up a quarter of the world’s emissions.

Other pieces:

  • Transportation: 14%
  • Manufacturing: 21%
  • Buildings: 6%
  • Agriculture: 24%
  • Other sources: 10%

Gates is imploring people to realize that addressing climate change means changing the fundamental way our lives are run, which ultimately means the entire global economy.

“You know, for example, if synthetic meat works, that actually is a pretty big deal. But that's at an early stage. If electric cars become mainstream products, which they are not today, that’s also a little piece of the problem. But you need to make steel in new ways, you need to make fertilizer in new ways.”
— Bill Gates

Gates has a long history investing in clean-energy technologies, and he's ramping up this work in recent months.

  • He is leading a coalition of billionaires, including Jeff Bezos and George Soros, investing in a range of technologies, including batteries and new ways to get water.
  • In October, that group inked a similar investment fund with the European Commission.
  • Also in October, Gates announced a new initiative on adapting to climate change, which is a big focus of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates also has investments in TerraPower, which is seeking to build an advanced nuclear reactor, and a company called Carbon Engineering, which makes a technology that captures carbon dioxide emissions straight from the sky.

Critics don't like that idea. They say investing in technologies like that could lessen the urgency of cutting emissions — because it creates a way to take them out of the atmosphere later.

But Gates flatly rejected that criticism: “Maybe to encourage people to stop eating too much we should stop doing heart surgery, because it's really letting people develop heart problems.”

Gates said he was optimistic that humanity can tackle climate change, but he didn’t exactly show it. Toward the end of our interview, which went double the scheduled time, he observed how some issues gain traction while others don’t.

“On some issues, like should women be treated better, whatever isn't being done in the administration, the counter reaction is strong enough that I feel good that movement is stronger today, and I think it'll get stronger in the future.”

He then concluded:

“On climate change, it's hard because we'll get interested and then let's say the U.S. economy isn't as strong. You know, people's willingness to talk about something that's 40 years away is a lot higher when a lot of things are going well.”

We can at least count on Gates, whose net worth is just shy of $100 billion, to care about this issue even if the economy tanks for the rest of us.

Go deeper

Federal court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for health workers in 10 states

President Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant following a meeting with his COVID-19 response team. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

A federal court in Missouri has blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers at federally funded facilities in 10 states.

Why it matters: Monday's decision is the first victory for opponents of the rule, which requires health care workers to get vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022. The case is one of four lawsuits challenging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) rule and argues that the mandate will exacerbate staffing shortages.

Twitter's next act

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey is exiting the company he helped build at a time when its future has never been so uncertain.

Why it matters: The person who controls Twitter controls the de facto public square — with implications for politics, media and free speech.

2 hours ago - Health

CDC strengthens COVID booster recommendation

Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday strengthened its previous recommendation for booster shots, saying that everyone 18 and older "should" receive a booster dose.

Why it matters: Last month, CDC director Rochelle Walensky accepted a key advisory committee's recommendation that adults "may" get the shot. The slight, but strengthened, change in wording comes amid the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant.