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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Joe Biden's campaign is emphasizing that he really, really doesn't like subsidies for fossil fuels at a time when climate activists are blasting the removal of anti-subsidy language from the Democratic National Committee platform.

What they're saying: "[Joe Biden] continues to be committed to ending U.S. fossil fuel subsidies [and] then rallying the rest of the world to do the same — as was outlined in his climate plan last year," Biden policy director Stef Feldman tweeted Wednesday.

  • "Here at home, he'll use those dollars to instead invest in a clean energy future and create union jobs," she added.

The big picture: It's not clear why the language got dropped, but it's not really consequential in terms of future policy. Nonbinding party platforms aren't especially influential.

Why it matters: The kerfuffle is nonetheless important because it represents deeper tensions on the left that will play out if Democrats win the White House (and Senate) and have a chance to implement their wider climate agenda.

Politico's Zack Colman nicely explains why it touched a nerve, writing:

"The sparring over the fossil fuel language reflects a deeper mistrust between the DNC and progressive climate activists who contend the Democratic Party has failed to take aggressive positions against oil, gas and coal companies who have lobbied against policies to swiftly reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

The intrigue: The DNC told HuffPost, which broke the story, and other outlets that the anti-subsidy language was "incorrectly included" in a late July draft.

  • But in contrast, veteran Democratic insider John Podesta told my colleague Amy Harder that removal of the language was a procedural goof.
  • “Sometimes when you’re on Zoom and all that stuff, you just screw something up,” Podesta said. “It was really just a procedural screw-up, and they’ve ended up with egg on their face.”

Go deeper

AOC and Ilhan Omar want to block Biden’s former chief of staff

Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar are boosting a petition against Joe Biden nominating his former chief of staff to a new role in his administration, calling Bruce Reed a "deficit hawk” and criticizing his past support for Social Security and Medicare cuts.

Why it matters: Progressives are mounting their pressure campaign after the president-elect did not include any of their favored candidates in his first slate of Cabinet nominees, and they are serious about installing some of their allies, blocking anyone who doesn't pass their smell test — and making noise if they are not heard.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
45 mins ago - Health

The end of the Omicron wave is in sight

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

The Omicron wave is likely beginning to recede in the U.S., experts say.

Why it matters: Omicron is still wreaking havoc in parts of the country, but infectious disease experts are optimistic that relief is around the corner.

NASA estimates Tonga volcano exploded with force of 5-6 megatons

A satellite image of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Dec. 24, before the eruption. Photo: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

NASA scientists estimate the power of Tonga's volcanic eruption over the weekend to have been 5-6 Megatons of TNT equivalent.

Threat level: Saturday's eruption of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Haʻapai volcano and subsequent tsunami killed at least three people. Scientists warn an "ash-seawater cocktail" poses a potentially toxic health threat, and drinking water could be contaminated.

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