Photo: Killan O'Sullivan/View Pictures via Getty Images

Following up: California's mandate that new single-family homes and small multi-family dwellings must come with solar panels starting in 2020 has touched off a dispute among climate advocates about whether it's a good idea.

Why it matters now: State and local policy is where the action is, as the White House has generally abandoned federal climate policies. Meanwhile, California's initiatives could bolster similar efforts in other states as solar continues to get ever cheaper, which expands the menu of policy options.

The sides, albeit oversimplified:

  1. One side argues that it's a feel-good but not cost-effective policy, and could even crowd out better climate initiatives.
  2. Others say there isn't the luxury of leaving pr0-deployment policies on the cutting room floor, and that costs declines will make it cheaper than expected.

Be smart: Rochester Institute of Technology energy expert Eric Hittinger's excellent Twitter thread offers helpful framing. He writes:

  • "One group, maybe called 'optimizers', wants cost-effective solutions because anything else results in more costs and less results."
  • "Another group, maybe called 'pragmatic gradualists', are more focused on making progress, and are happy to push on anything that seems to move. This group is less focused on cost-effectiveness and more on political feasibility."
  • His bottom line: "Our *goal* should be to achieve the most cost-effective and efficient solutions that we know about, but we should also be *satisfied* if we achieved the best solution that was politically feasible today. Then tomorrow we can start working on a better policy."

One level deeper: The mandate, part of a wider efficiency policy, is expected to raise average new home costs by around $8,000–$12,000, per various reports.

  • The California Energy Commission predicts that the new policy will add $40 to monthly mortgage payments, but save $80 per month on cooling, heating and lighting.
  • NPR has a good piece here.

Go deeper

Trump announces plan to distribute 150 million rapid coronavirus tests

President Trump announced on Monday that the federal government will distribute 150 million rapid, point-of-care coronavirus tests to states over the next few weeks, including to K-12 schools and vulnerable communities like nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Why it matters: The Trump administration has stressed the importance of reopening schools in allowing parents to return to work and jumpstarting the economy.

Updated 57 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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  5. Health: The childless vaccine — Why kids get less severe coronavirus infections.
  6. World: India the second country after U.S. to hit 6 million cases.
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Digging into Trump's taxes

President Trump paid no federal income tax in 10 of the past 15 years, and just $750 in 2016 and 2017, according to a new report from the New York Times. He also is reported to have hundreds of millions of dollars in outstanding debts, most of which would come due during a second term.

Axios Re:Cap focuses on what is and isn't surprising about the revelations, plus how real estate developers are taxed, with Francine McKenna, an independent financial journalist and certified public accountant.