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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

Go deeper

18 mins ago - World

South Africa says it's being "punished" for detecting new COVID variant

South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor addresses the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly on September 22, 2021 in New York City. Photo: Eduardo Munoz - Pool/Getty Images)

South Africa said Saturday it's being "punished" for detecting the new Omicron coronavirus variant as more countries rush to enact travel bans and restrictions.

Driving the news: The U.S. imposed air travel restrictions from eight countries Friday in response to the Omicron variant. Countries in Europe and Asia have also implemented their own travel restrictions in response to Omicron.

Trump can't quit mainstream media

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa are interviewed by Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" in September. Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC via Getty Images

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa issued a rebuttal on Friday to a statement by former President Donald Trump that misrepresented their reporting — and once again showed the 45th president's thin skin about mainstream media.

Driving the news: "Former President Trump said ... our book, 'Peril,' implied that he was planning to go to war with China," the statement begins. "[W]e report that Chairman of Joint Chiefs Mark Milley 'believed that Trump did not want a war' before or after the 2020 election."

NY declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron COVID variant

Governor Kathy Hochul makes an announcement about a new plan transforming Penn Station on Nov. 3, 2021. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday declared a state of emergency amid rising COVID-19 cases and the newly-identified Omicron variant of the virus.

Driving the news: The declaration enables the state to acquire supplies to fight a potential surge in cases, increase hospital capacity and combat potential staff shortages, NBC's local affiliate reports.

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