Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. 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!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

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!

A solar farm system on the campus of Arizona State University in Phoenix. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Corbis via Getty Images

In next week's midterm elections, Arizona and Nevada voters will decide whether to pass state ballot measures that would require electric utilities to invest in renewable and clean energy sources. If passed, these initiatives would work toward statewide goals of 50% renewable energy use by 2030.

Why it matters: According to a special report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Oct. 8, stringent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are needed to prevent potentially catastrophic impacts if the climate warms above 1.5°C, or 2.7°F. State and federal legislation is essential to reaching this global climate target.

To meet the goals outlined in the IPCC report, global industries — especially energy, construction and transportation — must make "unprecedented" changes to how they operate. In the U.S., that means increasing investment in renewable energy systems.

  • The current, relatively low price of fossil fuels increases the need for legislation to trigger investment in renewables, since shareholders often focus on near-term financial returns.
  • But some major companies with longer-term horizons have begun to lead the charge, with Google and Facebook both investing in renewable energy and integrating climate goals into their business models.

Reality check: Only four states have energy-focused initiatives, and energy continues to be a relatively unimportant issue for voters, behind the economy, security, health care and education. But to address energy-driven environmental challenges, local, state, federal and even international authorities need to be aligned in pursuing climate-positive policies. Should these initiatives pass in November, they could serve as a catalyst for future legislation and commitments to mitigate the effects of climate change in 2020 and beyond.

The big picture: While renewable energy initiatives like those on the ballot in Nevada and Arizona are critical to meeting the IPCC's climate targets, more than legislation is needed. In order to drive down renewable energy costs while at the same time guaranteeing an affordable energy supply, academics, researchers and technologists must also continue developing grid-scale energy storage, wind and solar power technologies, and electric transportation.

Aaron Bobick is the dean of Washington University in St. Louis’ School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Go deeper

Scoop: FDA chief called to West Wing

Stephen Hahn. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has summoned FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn to the West Wing for a 9:30am meeting Tuesday to explain why he hasn't moved faster to approve the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, two senior administration officials told Axios.

Why it matters: The meeting is shaping up to be tense, with Hahn using what the White House will likely view as kamikaze language in a preemptive statement to Axios: "Let me be clear — our career scientists have to make the decision and they will take the time that’s needed to make the right call on this important decision."

Scoop: Schumer's regrets

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images   

Chuck Schumer told party donors during recent calls that the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the fact that Cal Cunningham "couldn't keep his zipper up" crushed Democrats' chances of regaining the Senate, sources with direct knowledge of the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Democrats are hoping for a 50-50 split by winning two upcoming special elections in Georgia. But their best chance for an outright Senate majority ended when Cunningham lost in North Carolina and Sen. Susan Collins won in Maine.

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.