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Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency officially proposed a rule Tuesday setting limits on carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, which replaces a far more aggressive plan issued by former President Barack Obama.

Why it matters: It’s a tacit acknowledgment by the Trump administration that it’s legally required to regulate carbon emissions — even though most officials don’t acknowledge climate change is a problem.

Reality check: Trump officials will tout how this rule will stop what they call Obama’s war on coal, but independent analysts say coal’s decline will continue, and is fueled largely by cheaper natural gas and renewables anyway.

The details: The rule, called the Affordable Clean Energy rule, calls for reduction of CO2 emissions within a plant’s fence line only, instead of across a company’s fleet, which is what Obama’s rule did. Trump’s rule also gives significant flexibility to states.

Flashback: Obama’s rule was the cornerstone of his administration’s commitment to the Paris climate deal, from which Trump has vowed to withdraw the United States. Obama’s rule never went into effect, though. The Supreme Court took the unusual step of temporarily blocking it in early 2016, as it faced legal challenges from more than two dozen states.

  • That’s a sign of how difficult it is to address climate change through regulations, instead of legislation.

What’s next: The proposal will go through a public notice and comment period before going final. Expect lawsuits from left-leaning states and environmental groups to ensue as soon at that time.

Go deeper

Why made-for-TV moments matter during the pandemic

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Erin Schaff-Pool, Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.

Updated 8 hours ago - World

Over 3,000 detained in protests across Russia demanding Navalny's release

Russian police officers beat protestesters at a rally against of jailing of oppositon leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow on Saturday. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Police in Russia on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations began in the eastern regions of Russia and spread west to more than 60 cities.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.