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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

All kinds of strange things can happen in a lame-duck session — ahead of a White House transition no less — and apparently a bipartisan energy deal is among them.

Driving the news: Per multiple reports (like this Washington Examiner piece) and some of Axios' own sourcing, lawmakers are closing in on an agreement on a package that would be attached to an omnibus spending deal moving through Congress.

Why it matters: One major provision is an apparent deal on phasing down the use of hydrofluorocarbons, a very potent greenhouse gas used in refrigeration, air-conditioning and other applications.

  • "We have made very good progress towards an agreement on HFC reduction," Sen. Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, said on the chamber's floor yesterday.
  • He said it would be the "single biggest victory in the fight against climate change to pass this body in a decade."

The big picture: Per a draft reviewed by Axios and several reports, the overall measure contains a suite of provisions authorizing finance and overhaul of Energy Department programs to boost innovation and deployment of carbon removal tech, energy storage, renewables, nuclear and more.

  • Here's a snippet of a detailed E&E News piece this morning: "In total, the bill would authorize $35.2 billion in research spending over the next decade. That includes more than a dozen demonstration projects on advanced nuclear reactors, energy storage and carbon capture technologies."

Yes, but: Bipartisan energy deals come around extremely rarely, so let's see if this actually happens.

  • Roll Call reported last night that "House Democratic leadership had not delivered an official blessing of the energy deal" and that the situation is "fluid."

Go deeper

Bankruptcy filings hit decade-high last year

Data: S&P Global Market Intelligence; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Bankruptcy filings hit a decade-high last year — though, by one measure, they eclipsed the financial crisis high.

The big picture: 7% of companies that filed for bankruptcy had over $1 billion in liabilities, the highest share in at least 10 years, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 26, 2021 - Energy & Environment

New report pushes UN to rethink electricity goals in developing nations

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

It's time for the world's biggest multilateral development agencies to radically reframe their goals around expanding electricity access, a new proposal argues.

Why it matters: The nonprofit Energy for Growth Hub says the UN's current sustainable development goals (SDGs) around power access are too modest and focus too narrowly on residential use.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Schumer suggests Biden could use emergency powers for climate policy

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wants President Biden to explore use of emergency executive powers to fight climate change, he told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow last night.

Driving the news: Schumer said it "might be a good idea for President Biden to call a climate emergency," and noted, "Then he can do many, many things under the emergency powers of the president ... that he could do without legislation."