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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Thursday's debate nicely encapsulated the way that climate change has become stitched into the fabric of wider Democratic policy and messaging on many topics.

The state of play: While a huge Green New Deal-style mobilization lacks legs in Congress, its all-encompassing conceptual framing — climate as inseparable from industrial policy, human rights and much more — is carrying the day.

The big picture: The segment on climate and other answers included the following comments — and this is not a comprehensive list:

  • Bernie Sanders, after the climate section was over, used a question about the lack of diversity on stage to revisit the topic. "People of color, in fact, are going to be the people suffering most if we do not deal with climate change," he said.
  • Elizabeth Warren used a question about climate change to quickly transition to her wider populist message, noting that "if we don't attack the corruption first, if we don't attack the corruption head-on, then we're not going to be able to make the changes we need" on climate and other topics.
    • She also said that while she's against building new nuclear plants, the need to stem carbon emissions means "we need to keep some of our nuclear in place."
  • Joe Biden was quick to play up job creation from building out climate-friendly infrastructure. I know, I know, green jobs messages are hardly new, but the economic frame around climate is in full flower this cycle.
    • He had a moment of candor when asked whether he'd sacrifice some U.S. oil-and-gas production growth even knowing it could displace workers in those sectors. "The answer is yes because the opportunity for those workers to transition to high-paying jobs...is real," he said, talking up jobs in low-carbon infrastructure.
  • Tom Steyer returned to climate when making the wider argument for treating China as a "frenemy," noting, "if we are going to treat climate as the threat that it is, we are going to have to partner with the Chinese." Whether that proves to be a political winner in a general election is TBD.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
28 mins ago - Health

New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

New research is bolstering the case for delaying second doses of coronavirus vaccines.

Why it matters: Most vulnerable Americans remain unvaccinated heading into March, when experts predict the more infectious virus variant first found in the U.K. could become dominant in the U.S.

29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Rail's big moment is arriving

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Passenger rail could be the big winner if Congress moves ahead with President Biden's ambitious infrastructure plan.

Why it matters: There's long been bipartisan support for rebuilding America's crumbling infrastructure, but under Biden, the focus has shifted to sustainable projects that fulfill both his climate and equity goals, such as rail transit.

Scoop: Schumer wants to freeze stimulus changes

Sen. Chuck Schumer. Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is privately saying he can pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus package but wants to avoid any last-minute changes jeopardizing its trajectory, three sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: While the president hoped to enlist Republican support for the measure, Schumer has worked to ensure he has a solid 50 votes to muscle it through if necessary. A parliamentary ruling Thursday improved his chances.