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

Updated 34 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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  1. Health: Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022 — Trump's testing czar: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests
  2. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases
  3. Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  4. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.

In pictures: Storm Zeta churns inland after lashing Louisiana

Debris on the streets as then-Hurricane Zeta passes over in Arabi, Louisiana, on Oct. 28. It's the third hurricane to hit Louisiana in about two months, after Laura and Delta. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Zeta has killed at least two people, triggered flooding, downed powerlines and caused widespread outages since making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday.

The big picture: A record 11 named storms have made landfall in the U.S. this year. Zeta is the fifth named storm to do so in Louisiana in 2020, the most ever recorded. It weakened t0 a tropical storm early Thursday, as it continued to lash parts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle with heavy rains and strong winds.

2 hours ago - World

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing," along with the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus for the achievement, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

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