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Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

2020 candidate Elizabeth Warren wants to put environmental justice at the center of responding to climate change.

Why it matters: Her plan, which was unveiled Wednesday and focuses on addressing the disproportionate pollution burdens that the poor and communities of color often face, arrives as Warren has reached the top of the Democratic primary field.

  • She topped Joe Biden in the RealClearPolitics average of 2020 White House polls for the first time this week.
  • However, the Massachusetts senator lags behind the former vice president among African American voters, a vital Democratic constituency.

The big picture: Warren's proposal is consistent with the Green New Deal's emphasis on tethering steep carbon emissions cuts to racial and workforce equity concerns.

  • Her platform is a mix of ideas around climate change specifically and environmental policy more broadly.

How it works: One portion would create an "equity screen" for big federal investments she's proposing for accelerating the transformation to low-carbon energy.

  • "I’ll direct one-third of my proposed climate investment into the most vulnerable communities," she writes, adding this would funnel at least $1 trillion into these areas over 10 years.

A few other pillars:

  • Better "equity mapping" to identify "cumulative environmental health disparities and climate vulnerabilities." This would be cross-referenced with other socioeconomic data to improve air and water pollution permitting.
  • Altering bankruptcy laws to "prevent coal and other fossil fuel companies from evading their responsibility to their workers and to the communities that they have helped to pollute."
  • Encouraging the EPA and Department of Justice to "aggressively go after corporate polluters, particularly in cases of environmental discrimination."
  • Steps to to ensure that workers in fossil fuel industries are not left behind. She says she is "committed to providing job training and guaranteed wage and benefit parity for workers transitioning into new industries."
  • Focusing on at-risk populations in disaster planning and response.
  • Making it easier to move away from flood-prone areas through "buying back those properties for low-income homeowners at a value that will allow them to relocate."

The intrigue: The plan says Warren's positions in other policy areas will help address environmental justice.

  • For instance, Warren argues that Medicare for All will help the federal government "quickly tailor health care responses to specific environmental disasters in affected communities when they occur."

Go deeper: Elizabeth Warren on the issues, in under 500 words

Go deeper

Scoop: Trump-backed Perdue says he wouldn’t have certified Georgia 2020 results

Perdue at a December 2020 campaign event in Columbus, Ga. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue wouldn’t have signed the certification of the state’s 2020 election results if he had been governor at the time, the former Senate Republican told Axios.

  • “Not with the information that was available at the time and not with the information that has come out now. They had plenty of time to investigate this. And I wouldn’t have signed it until those things had been investigated and that’s all we were asking for," he said.

Why it matters: There has been no evidence widespread fraud took place in Georgia's elections last year and the November results were counted three times, once by hand.

Beijing Olympics: These countries have announced diplomatic boycotts

Photo: Zhang Qiang/VCG via Getty Images

Several countries, including Canada and Australia, have announced they will join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to protest human rights abuses committed by China's government.

Driving the news: Leaders have faced pressure from human rights groups and others to boycott the Games, pointing to the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang region and other abuses.

Biden directs federal government to become carbon neutral by 2050

President Biden speaking to reporters outside of the White House on Dec. 8.

President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday that requires the federal government achieve multiple goals related to reducing its carbon emissions, including achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Why it matters: Meeting the objectives of the order would require a massive investment by the federal government to buy electric vehicles, upgrade buildings and change how it procures electricity.