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Yellow Vest (Gilets Jaunes) protesting rising oil prices and living costs, near the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, Nov. 24. Photo: Mehdi Taamallah/NurPhoto via Getty Images

After three weeks of demonstrations against an increase in gasoline taxes, French President Emmanuel Macron yielded to the Yellow Vest protesters by suspending the hikes for six months.

The big picture: The wealthy countries pushing to address climate change have been seen as best equipped to bear the costs of transitioning from fossil fuels to renewables, hence their commitment in the Paris Accord to channel energy transition funding to the developing world. But the French protests and Macron’s response suggest that even developed societies may meet resistance from their more disadvantaged members, who may not be so willing to make sacrifices to their way of life.

Macron’s response reveals that developed countries’ governments, democracies as they are, may be especially vulnerable to widespread dissatisfaction.

Polish President Andrzej Duda bluntly expressed that sentiment at the opening of COP24 in Katowice, Poland, this week.

  • On the eve of Poland’s Miners’ Day, he underscored coal’s role as a strategic and indispensable resource for the Polish economy, pointing to 200 years of coal reserves that not only serve the country’s energy-security goals but also provide jobs to 100,000 Poles.
  • Duda is acutely aware of the political consequences of potential anti-coal action, given the 101 (out of 460) parliamentary seats in the country's coal region that politicians need to compete for every four years.

Yes, but: While such resistance is admittedly discouraging in the face of dire climate-change warnings, it does not spell doom. Rather, it highlights the need to understand the mindset of billions of people all over the world whose economic situation makes it difficult for them to justify immediate costs to their well-being, or to forego advancement, in exchange for the diffuse future benefits of climate action, however important.

The bottom line: If those sentiments are not factored into developed countries’ climate-policy equations, they may find themselves in a situation akin to that of President Macron, unable to follow up on their climate commitments.

Anna Mikulska is a nonresident fellow in energy studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute's Center for Energy Studies and a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Kleinman Center for Energy Policy.

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Women rise to the top at major media companies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Several women have been tapped to lead some of the country's largest newsrooms over the past year — a promising sign of progress for an industry that's typically been slow to accept change and embrace diversity.

Driving the news: CBS News executive Kimberly Godwin was named president of ABC News on Wednesday. Godwin will be the first Black woman to lead a major broadcast news division when she takes the helm in May.

Americans will likely have to navigate a maze of vaccine "passports"

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Many private businesses and some states are plowing ahead with methods of verifying that people have been vaccinated, despite conservative resistance to "vaccine passports."

Why it matters: Many businesses view some sort of vaccine verification system as key to getting back to normal. But in the absence of federal leadership, a confusing patchwork approach is likely to pop up.

The future of political advertising is connected TV

Reproduced from Centro; Chart: Axios Visuals

Political advertising has quickly begun to migrate over to connected TV (CTV), or digital and streaming television, according to new data.

Why it matters: "If the current trends of explosive growth in CTV viewership continue, we could see a tipping point where CTV makes up nearly half of political digital ad spend as soon as 2022," says Grace Briscoe, vice president of candidates and causes at Centro, a digital ad placement firm that works with hundreds of campaigns across the country.