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Sen. Elizabeth Warren, addresses the media after announcing she formed an exploratory committee for a 2020 Presidential run on Dec. 31, 2018 in Cambridge, Mass. Credit: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) broadly supports the "idea" of a "Green New Deal," one of her Senate aides told Axios.

Why it matters: Warren's comments signal the building momentum among Democrats behind the idea, and raises the likelihood that it will be on the national political agenda as the 2020 election cycle unfolds. The Green New Deal is the sweeping climate, energy and economic framework championed by progressives including Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

What they're saying: A Senate aide for Warren tells Axios ...

"Senator Warren has been a longtime advocate of aggressively addressing climate change and shifting toward renewables, and supports the idea of a Green New Deal to ambitiously tackle our climate crisis, economic inequality, and racial injustice."

Where it stands: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — who is weighing another presidential run and has long made climate change central to his politics and Senate work — backs the Green New Deal and is planning legislation around it.

And some other potential candidates — Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and activist Tom Steyer — also broadly endorse the idea.

But, but, but: It's impossible to fully get a handle on the depth of the support for the Green New Deal.

That's because right now it consists of several things: a slogan; a proposed House process for crafting a detailed climate policy framework; and a set of broad policy goals.

On process, Ocasio-Cortez and activists with the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats have urged House Democratic leaders to establish a select committee on a Green New Deal that would create a detailed proposal.

  • However, they're disappointed thus far with the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is setting up, which is unlikely to have subpoena power. Ocasio-Cortez and activists also say the panel should not allow members who have taken contributions from fossil fuel companies.

The details: The sweeping Ocasio-Cortez proposal calls for a special House committee to craft a detailed plan by early 2020 to meet a suite of goals including:

  • Transition to 100% renewable electricity in the U.S within 10 years, as well as efforts to curb transportation emissions.
  • Massive investments in greenhouse gas mitigation; building a national "smart grid;" and work around emissions from agriculture and manufacturing.

The plan would include job guarantees for people working in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The intrigue: Warren scarcely grazed energy and climate change in her announcement Monday of an exploratory committee for a 2020 run.

  • The only quasi-mention: her economy-focused launch video said politicians look the other way while big industries do bad stuff.
  • The list included oil companies that "destroy the planet."
  • Climate and energy did not come up in her short press conference later in the day.

Warren has a 99% lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters. But climate has not been a big focus of her Senate tenure which, as E&E News points out, has emphasized economic inequality and consumer protection.

Quick take: While climate has historically played a rather minor role in national elections and hasn't been a big focus for Warren, the Green New Deal concept could fit within Warren's campaign narrative on economic inequality.

The big question: Warren's political aides did not provide immediate comment Tuesday on what role energy and climate would play in her potential 2020 bid.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Lawmakers call for Israel-Hamas ceasefire amid aerial bombardments

Combination images of Republican Sen. Todd Young and Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy. Photo: Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images/Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and 28 Senate Democrats on Sunday called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas as fighting continued into the night.

Driving the news: In the first bipartisan call for a ceasefire, Young, a ranking member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, joined its Chair Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) a statement saying: "Israel has the right to defend itself from Hamas' rocket attacks, in a manner proportionate with the threat its citizens are facing.

Bill Gates faces scrutiny over relationship with Microsoft employee, Epstein ties

Photo: Alessandro Di Ciommo/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Representatives for Bill Gates pushed back on claims Sunday that he left Microsoft's board because of an earlier sexual relationship and against two other reports detailing more extensive ties with Jeffrey Epstein than had previously been reported.

Driving the news: Microsoft said in an emailed statement to Axios that it "received a concern" in 2019 that its co-founder "sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000," but denied a Wall Street Journal report that its board members thought Gates should resign over the matter.

AT&T in talks with Discovery to combine media assets

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

AT&T is in talks with media giant Discovery about merging its media assets, like CNN, TBS and TNT, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.

Why it matters: A potential merger could allow AT&T and Discovery to better compete with entertainment giants like Disney and Netflix in the video streaming wars.

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