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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The U.S. has reached the roughly half-year mark of a new phase in climate politics, which began when Democrats won House control and the party's 2020 primary campaign got rolling in earnest.

Why it matters: Democrats are beginning to shape the ideas that could become actual policy if the 2020 elections open a political window, while some Republicans are scrambling to come up with a response.

A non-comprehensive list of early political takeaways:

  • Ambition is in. At least 9 major candidates have endorsed moving the U.S. to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which is a very heavy lift. And we're seeing other aggressive ideas, including calls by Elizabeth Warren and other candidates to end new fossil fuel leases on federal lands.
  • But so is realism. No major candidate (known to Axios) is calling for a 2030 net-zero U.S. emissions target, which has been the goal of some GND backers. Even the aggressive Sunrise Movement most recently said the U.S. has a responsibility to get there faster than 2050, but did not repeat their 2030 deadline.
  • Climate has arrived in national politics. A recent CNN poll showed it among the very top priorities for Democratic primary voters, and it's not an isolated result. Presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke made climate the subject of his first detailed policy proposal, and I'm confident that the days when it's absent from televised debates are gone.
  • It's a mixed bag for carbon pricing. An ostensibly bipartisan House carbon fee bill has just 1 GOP backer so far. Nor is pricing — via a tax or permit trading — a priority for key GND advocates, though they do see some role. Via NYT, several major candidates support pricing as part of wider climate policies. But it has not been the central pillar of discussion on the stump thus far.
  • GND also has mixed bag. AOC and activists — including Sunrise — have pushed the GND to the forefront of the conversation. But backers have made some mistakes, and the Senate version of the resolution has gained just 1 new co-sponsor since its February rollout with 11 supporters (including many 2020 candidates). And the national AFL-CIO has been critical, which matters as Joe Biden — who's atop the early polls — seeks to run as a labor candidate.
  • Republicans need … something. A number have floated ideas of their own or are working on them. Sen. John Cornyn, who's in Republican leadership, tells Bloomberg he's working on an innovation-focused proposal, while Axios' Amy Harder looks at other Republicans here. GOP plans are far less aggressive than Democratic ideas, but the politics have moved away from simple opposition.

Editor's note: This story was updated to clarify that multiple Democratic candidates support an end to new federal fossil fuel leases.

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”