Updated Feb 9, 2018

Surprise: Congress backs a bipartisan climate policy

A coal-fired plant in England that installed carbon capture technology. Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images

The budget bill Congress passed early Friday morning includes a narrow but important tax incentive that would support technology capturing carbon emissions from coal plants and other facilities.

Why it matters: It helps make the economic case for this type of technology, which established science says is essential in cutting greenhouse gas emissions to the level scientists say we must, but is currently too expensive in most instances. It’s also seen as key for coal’s long-term viability in a world combating climate change.

Gritty details: The tax credit, which Congress first created in 2008, is expanded and extended for 12 years in the current budget bill, which experts say would increase the chances of more deployment across a range of innovative but costly technologies in this space. The bill's diverse backers could tout different benefits — climate change or coal's future.

The intrigue: As chief sponsor, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat from North Dakota, has been building an unusually broad coalition of support for the measure that began a couple of years ago (and far earlier for broader efforts on carbon capture). The measure’s sponsors include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican from Kentucky, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat from Rhode Island. Heitkamp also gathered diverse stakeholder support, ranging from environmental groups to coal companies.

In short, Heitkamp’s efforts represent a bipartisan exception to the partisan rule on one of the most partisan topics: energy and climate change.

Yes, but: Absent policy monetizing carbon emissions more broadly, this tax incentive is unlikely to prompt a huge wave of new projects.

Go deeper on my past Axios stories about carbon capture:

Go deeper

Minneapolis unrest as hundreds protest death of George Floyd

Tear gas is fired as police clash with protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd outside the 3rd Precinct Police Precinct in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Tuesday. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Minneapolis police used tear gas during clashes with protesters demanding justice Tuesday night for George Floyd, an African American who died in police custody, according to multiple news reports and images shared to social media.

Driving the news: The FBI is investigating Floyd's death after video emerged of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck for several minutes, ignoring protests that he couldn't breathe. Hundreds of protesters attended the demonstration at the intersection where Floyd died, per the Guardian.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

The number of deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 350,000 globally on Wednesday morning, per Johns Hopkins data.

By the numbers: More than 5.9 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 and over 2.2 million have recovered from the virus. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.9 million tests).

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:00 a.m. ET: 5,594,175 — Total deaths: 350,531 — Total recoveries — 2,288,579Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:00 a.m. ET: 1,681,418 — Total deaths: 98,929 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Federal response: DOJ investigates meatpacking industry over soaring beef pricesMike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
  4. Congress: House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting.
  5. Business: How the new workplace could leave parents behind.
  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets about mail-in voting for first timeGoogle to open offices July 6 for 10% of workers.
  7. Public health: Coronavirus antibodies could give "short-term immunity," CDC says, but more data is neededCDC releases guidance on when you can be around others after contracting the virus.
  8. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy