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Photo: Axios

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) said at an Axios event Friday that extreme weather events may create political momentum to respond to climate change.

Driving the news: The deadly ice storm in Texas this winter that caused widespread power outages prompted Padilla to reach out to Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to find ways to invest in the electrical grid, the California senator said.

What he's saying: The winter storm "created an opportunity for me to reach out to my colleague from Texas, Senator Cornyn, and on a bipartisan basis suggest that we put federal funding, federal resources at play to partner with utilities for the purpose of investing in the electrical grid, not just from a reliability standpoint, but from the resiliency standpoint," Padilla told Axios' Ben Geman.

  • "For better and for worse sometimes it does take natural disasters like this to maybe change the politics and the discourse a little bit."

Padilla also said California voters had climate on their mind when they voted in this week's recall election.

  • "You turn on the news daily in California right now, especially in the northern half of the state, you're still seeing the impacts of fires and smoke, people that were forced to evacuate, that sort of thing, and so I think science was on the ballot in this recall election," Padilla said.
  • "Science about COVID and the need for vaccines, and science about climate and the urgency with which we need to act, to have defeated the recall with such a significant margin, I think tells us Californians clearly know what's going on."

Watch the full event here.

Go deeper

Study: More infectious diseases inevitable due to climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Climate change is creating ideal conditions for infectious diseases to spread more quickly, according to The Lancet Countdown's annual climate report out Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's just one of the increasingly urgent threats to human health emerging from global climate change.

The big picture: Climate studies show that extreme weather events — such as more powerful hurricanes, heavier rainstorms, larger wildfires and hotter and longer-lasting heat waves — are worsening worldwide due to the burning of fossil fuels for energy, Axios' Andrew Freeman reports.

  • These events have had serious impacts on the health of entire regions and the vulnerable causing preventable deaths, food and water insecurity and the spread of infectious diseases.

Biden rejects Trump's latest executive privilege claims

Photo: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Monday rejected two more of former President Trump's claims of executive privilege over documents that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot requested, CNN first reported.

Why it matters: Trump's legal team is seeking to block some of the panel's requests for records by invoking executive privilege, which can allow presidents and their aides to sidestep congressional scrutiny. The Biden administration has maintained that it will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

Amazon warehouse workers in New York file petition to hold unionization vote

Amazon workers and their supporters rally outside the National Labor Relations Board's regional office in Brooklyn, New York City, after filing a petition requesting an election to form a union. Photo: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Amazon warehouse workers in New York City filed a petition on Monday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a vote on unionization.

Why it matters: The move comes six months after an organizing effort was defeated at Amazon's distribution center in Alabama.