Jan 5, 2019 - Energy

A rare political moment for climate

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

After taking a backseat on Washington’s priority list for most of the past decade, climate and energy policy are set to be in the limelight with the start of the new Congress.

Between the lines: It's probable that energy and climate issues will further divide the parties, at least for now. If so, that would be driven in part by Trump’s refusal to acknowledge climate change as a problem and also by Democrats moving further to the left.

Driving the news:

  • Democrats have created a special committee to focus on climate change, which could likely include consideration of a progressive “Green New Deal” policy championed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
  • A bipartisan carbon tax bill from late last year is likely to be re-introduced.
  • President Trump has cited infrastructure as potential common ground, prompting Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer to call for climate to be included.
  • Watch for business lobby groups, chiefly the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to ramp up pressure to raise the gasoline tax as a way to pay for infrastructure improvements.

Go deeper: Democrats' left turn on climate change

What's next

Bolton alleges in book that Trump tied Ukraine aid to investigations

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton alleges in his forthcoming book that the president explicitly told him "he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens," the New York Times first reported.

Why this matters: The revelations present a dramatic 11th hour turn in Trump's Senate impeachment trial. They directly contradict Trump's claim that he never tied the hold-up of Ukrainian aid to his demands for investigations into his political opponent Joe Biden.

Honoring Kobe Bryant: Sports stars, politicians and celebrities mourn NBA great

Kobe Bryant on court for the Los Angeles Lakers during the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday Night, part of 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at American Airlines Center in Dallas in February 2010. Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Sports stars, politicians and celebrities paid tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a California helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others on Saturday. He was 41.

What they're saying: Lakers great Shaquille O'Neal said in an Instagram post of his former teammate, "There's no words to express the pain I'm going through now with this tragic and sad moment of losing my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you brother and you will be missed."

Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Sports

What's next: Trump's broader travel ban

A sign for International Arrivals is shown at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Photo: Ted S. Warren/AP

President Trump is expected to announce an expanded travel ban this week, which would restrict immigration from seven additional countries — Nigeria, Myanmar, Sudan, Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan and Tanzania, per multiple reports.

  • The announcement would come on the third anniversary of Trump's original travel ban, which targeted Muslim-majority nations, per Axios' Stef Kight.