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Happy Friday! It's the end of the beginning for Generate as we finish week two of the newsletter. Thanks so much for reading. Your tips and feedback are always welcome at ben@axios.com. And a reminder that you can sign up for all the Axios newsletters, including our cool new tech newsletter Login, by clicking here. Ok, onward . . .

Breaking Friday morning: new global CO2 data

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The International Energy Agency has just reported that 2016 global carbon emissions from energy were flat for the third year in a row.

Why it matters: The Paris-based agency calls the latest findings more evidence of the "decoupling" of emissions from global economic growth. IEA executive director Fatih Birol calls it a "cause for optimism" but warns it's too soon to say emissions have peaked.

The IEA findings note that the world still isn't on track to keep the global temperature increase less than 2°C above preindustrial levels, the goal of the Paris climate accord.

The details: U.S. carbon emissions fell 3% thanks to gas and renewables' ongoing displacement of coal in power production. The country's CO2 output is at its lowest level since 1992. Emissions in China, the world's biggest CO2 source, fell by 1% even as the economy grew by 6.7%, IEA said. Renewables, nuclear and gas have an increasing share of electricity generation, and efforts to clean up China's polluted air are driving a shift from coal to gas at industrial plants and buildings, the agency said.

Snapshot from the budget brushoff

That was quick: There are already plenty of signs that Republican lawmakers won't get behind proposals to end or deeply cut energy and environmental programs in the White House budget plan. Thursday brought a slew of super-noncommittal and even critical statements from senior Republicans on the spending committees and elsewhere. Trump's proposed EPA cuts are huge and some of these non-climate EPA and energy programs he attacks are popular with both parties.

Why it matters: Yes, plenty of Republicans dislike climate initiatives and you'll also find backing to trim green energy R&D, but overall it's clear that lawmakers see Trump's proposal as a political wish list, not a guide. For instance, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski chairs the Appropriations subcommittee that writes EPA's budget, and she also leads the Energy Committee. She flatly said she "cannot support" many of the proposed cuts.

To be sure: There's indeed some alignment between Trump and congressional Republicans. Kentucky Rep. Hal Rogers, chairman of the spending subcommittee that handles the State Department, was bullish on going after State's international climate funding, which Trump wants to kill outright. "I have not been too happy with those programs," said the coal industry ally.

ARPA-E’s Republican defenders

One more budget item: it's highly unlikely that Trump will succeed in his plan to kill the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, a popular Energy Department program to fund development of breakthrough tech.

  • "I think it has been an effective program and I think they do a good job. Is it something we ought to be funding? That will be a debate we have," GOP Rep. Mike Simpson, head of the Appropriations subcommittee on DOE's budget, told reporters in the Capitol.
Rep. Fred Upton, a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said the program has done "good things."

Drillers are throwing more cash around

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There's more data to back up the optimistic vibe coming from oil producers these days. The prominent consulting firm Wood Mackenzie sifted through the capital spending plans of 119 companies, and 99 of them plan to boost their exploration and production investments in 2017.

Why it matters: The new findings underscore how the oil price recovery is driving new economic activity, especially in the U.S. Overall, the companies plan to spend a combined $25 billion more in 2017 than last year, an 11 percent rise.

Things look even brighter in the U.S. shale patch: "Those companies focused on the U.S. have booked the largest increase in planned spending, with budgets set to rise 60% year-on-year, accounting for $15 billion of additional investment."

The non-climate case for sticking with Paris

A short new paper is making a Trump-centric case for keeping the U.S in Paris climate change accord. Via the Center for Strategic & International Studies, Paul Bodnar's note called "An America First Climate Policy" (see what he did there?) argues that even if you don't care about climate change, there are plenty of reasons to stay involved.

The basic pitch: "Burning valuable political capital and risking a climate-related trade war seems especially unnecessary when you consider the simple, low-key requirements associated with staying in the agreement," writes Bodnar, a National Security Council energy aide under Obama.

Lowballing oil demand

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting piece that explores how forecasts of the world's oil thirst are consistently revised upward.

  • "The International Energy Agency's closely watched annual estimates of global crude demand have been revised up for the past seven years by an average of 880,000 barrels a day, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis," the paper reports.
The small differences can matter for prices, even in the nearly 100 million barrel daily global oil market. Per WSJ: "The oversupply that has pressured oil prices for almost three years was estimated at around 1% to 2% of the market in 2016."

Update on the GOP climate resolution

On Thursday I caught up with GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo, the lead sponsor of the GOP resolution calling for action on climate change that so far has just 16 co-sponsors (we wrote about this upstream swim here).

  • More to come: Curbelo, at the Capitol, said the sponsor list will "very likely" grow quite soon. "We have many colleagues who have contacted us, they are interested, they want to learn more, they want to figure out how they can be a part of this."
  • Hoping to engage leadership—eventually: "The stronger we get, the more attention we are going to be getting from leadership, and from others. … There will be a time to have a concrete discussion with them on how we can advance some policy solutions."

Friday brings the first in-person meeting between President Trump and German chancellor Angela Merkel, who has said she wants to chat about climate change with Trump. And look for more energy coverage in the Axios stream. Generate returns Monday. Have a great weekend.

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Gerrymandering gives GOP huge structural advantage

AP analysis of election data

Republican gains in statehouses during Obama's first midterm produced a priceless advantage when House districts were redrawn after the 2010 census, and AP has quantified that in a fascinating way:

"Republicans [last year] won as many as 22 additional U.S. House seats over what would have been expected based on the average vote share in congressional districts across the country. That helped provide the GOP with a comfortable majority over Democrats instead of a narrow one."

That's the most striking finding of a project the AP has been planning with members for weeks, "Redrawing America: Imbalance of Power ... how gerrymandering benefited GOP in 2016," by David Lieb:

  • "The AP scrutinized the outcomes of all 435 U.S. House races and about 4,700 state House and Assembly seats up for election last year."
  • "The analysis found four times as many states with Republican-skewed state House or Assembly districts than Democratic ones. Among the two dozen most populated states that determine the vast majority of Congress, there were nearly three times as many with Republican-tilted U.S. House districts."
  • "Traditional battlegrounds such as Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida and Virginia were among those with significant Republican advantages in their U.S. or state House races. All had districts drawn by Republicans after the last Census in 2010."
  • "[E]ven if Democrats had turned out in larger numbers, their chances of substantial legislative gains were limited by gerrymandering."
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Trump says he did call Republican health care plan "mean"

Screengrab via Fox News Channel

In an interview that aired Sunday on Fox and Friends, President Trump seemed to acknowledge he had called the Republican health care bill that passed the House "mean" — accusing Barack Obama of stealing "my term" while criticizing the plan. Other highlights:

On passing the plan: "It would be so great if the Democrats and Republicans could get together, wrap their arms around it and come up with something that everybody's happy with, but we won't get one Democratic vote."

On GOP holdouts of health plan: "I don't think they're that far off... I think we're going to get there.... The alternative is the dead carcass of Obamacare."

On Democrats: Trump said he's "open arms" if Dems are ready to cooperate, but, "their theme is resist. I've never heard anything like this, resist."
On Elizabeth Warren: "I actually think she's a hopeless case. I call her Pocahontas and that's an insult to Pocahontas."
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Senators claim illegal tactics being used to collect taxes

Steven Senne / AP

Elizabeth Warren and three other Democratic senators are accusing a company hired to collect federal taxes of making illegal and "extremely dangerous" suggestions to individuals in debt to the government — including that they pull from their retirement funds, take out a home loan or pay with credit cards, per the NY Times.

The background: The senators obtained call scripts from Pioneer, one of four companies hired by the I.R.S. to collect tax debt, and objected in a letter:
"Pioneer is unique among I.R.S. contractors in pressuring taxpayers to use financial products that could dramatically increase expenses, or cause them to lose their homes or give up their retirement security," they wrote.
The I.R.S told the Times it did not have a problem with the methods being used. The senators, meanwhile, claim they are a "clear violation" of the laws surrounding tax collection.
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"Matter of urgency" on post-Grenfell fire risks

Matt Dunham / AP

Testing on samples of tower block material following the deadly Grenfell Tower fire has produced uniformly dismal results, said U.K. Communities Secretary Sajid Javid per the AP:

  • "Britain's government is urging local officials across the country to submit samples of tower block cladding 'as a matter of urgency' after tests found that all cladding samples so far have failed fire safety tests.
  • "Javid said all 34 samples tested didn't meet fire safety standards. ... Officials at Camden Council in north London have evacuated hundreds of apartments in four tower blocks as a precaution..."
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The Democratic leanings of Bob Mueller's team

Evan Vucci / AP

Members of Special Counsel Bob Mueller's team leading the Russia investigation have donated almost exclusively to Democratic candidates, according to the FEC.

Why it matters: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrish tweeted it's "Time to rethink" if the Mueller-led investigation will be fair, given their donation history. But Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, said he sees no problem with the donations.

The donations:

  1. James Quarles: Donated almost $33,000 to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. He has also donated about $2,750 to Republicans — the only lawyer on Mueller's team to have done so.
  2. Jeannie Rhee: Donated more than $16,000 since 2008 to Democrats, including the maximum donation possible to Clinton in both 2015 and 2016. Rhee has also donated to Obama.
  3. Andrew Weissmann: Donated more than $4,000 to Obama in 2008 and $2,000 to the DNC in 2006.
  4. Elizabeth Prelogar: Donated $250 each to Clinton in 2016 and Obama in 2012.

There are no FEC filings for Aaron Zebley. It was not immediately clear whether Lisa Page had donated. The Michael Dreeben listed in the FEC database is not the same Dreeben Mueller hired, per CNN. Bob Mueller has not made donations.

Read more about the members of Mueller's team.

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Trump goes after Republicans who won't support health bill

Trump's latest health care tweet is yet another example of the president's penchant for tweet-shaming those who disagree with him. Axios reported this morning on the 8 Republican Senators who could make or break the Senate health bill, and Trump's tweet is not-so-subtly targeting them:

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Inside the Wall Street White House

There are four former Goldman Sachs execs helping out in Trump's White House in pretty prominent positions: Gary Cohn, Steve Mnuchin, Dina Powell, and Steve Bannon. Though they all share a Wall Street background, a new Vanity Fair piece reveals the internal conflicts among these bank-execs-turned-White-House-officials, and how their experience at Goldman might influence the way they approach their roles. The best part: the candid quotes from former Goldman colleagues who arguably know these four better than most.

The money quote: "I don't think [Steve] Bannon has jack sh*t of a Goldman Sachs pedigree," one former Goldman Sachs partner told VF's William Cohan.

Bottom line: These four have one very important thing in common that likely drew Trump's attention: money. "Trump likes alpha males that...have made a lot of money," one former Goldman partner said. This report gives one of the most thorough inside accounts of these key WH players and provides insight into what we can expect from the Trump admin moving forward.

Gary Cohn, chief economic adviser

  • A former Goldman partner explained to Cohan why he though Gary Cohn, a lifelong Democrat, would accept the offer to join Trump's WH staff: "This was an incredibly sort of convenient and opportune kind of thing that came along for Gary because—whether he was going to Washington or not—Gary was out."
  • Cohn reportedly became "overconfident" in his role at Goldman when he was filling in for his boss, who was undergoing lymphoma treatment, in 2015. He approached various board members about making him CEO of the company during this time, but it didn't work out — "there was a lot of loyalty" to Cohn's boss at Goldman.
  • Other Goldman colleagues dispute this account, saying that instead of making "power plays" for CEO, Cohn simply started hearing out the other offers coming his way, which included one from POTUS.
  • His WH role: A former Goldman partner who still talks with Cohn told VF that Cohn is "dedicated to making sure the U.S. doesn't start any ridiculous trade wars or do something 'crazy' on health care."

Steven Mnuchin, treasury secretary

  • "I think Steve Mnuchin's homework is being checked by Gary Cohn," a former Goldman partner told VF.
  • A Washington insider told Cohan about the friction between Cohn and Mnuchin, saying Mnuchin seems "insecure in his role."
  • "[Now] he's going around with ... Trump -like guys, which is really different than [who he was], which was a bit socially awkward, very smart, really into teamwork. I would have sworn he was a Democrat—a liberal Democrat."

Steve Bannon, chief White House strategist

  • Bannon isn't considered part of the Goldman Sachs crew at the White House, in part because he only spent four years there.
  • "What was unusual about him was he was a huge patriot and kept thinking the country was going to hell. He was really concerned about the United States of America. But I was never quite sure what he thought was wrong it. ...He was never quite able to articulate it in a way that I understood."

Dina Powell, deputy national security adviser

  • Powell is one of the WH Goldman members who's seen an almost meteoric rise.
  • "The most remarkable thing about Dina Powell is that she can manage up better than anybody I've ever seen in my entire life," one former Goldman colleague told Cohan.
  • As Cohan notes in his piece, Vogue recently referred to Powell as Trump's "right-hand woman."
  • She's credited as the person responsible for Trump's relatively successful Middle East trip, and she has prior WH experience.
  • "She's the best politician I've ever met in my life. She can work an organization better than anyone I've ever seen. Unlike the rest of us, she has prior White House experience, and she really knows how this place works," a Washington insider said.

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Charity orgs don't want to host banquets at Mar-a-Lago anymore

Andrew Harnik / AP

A new analysis by the Washington Post found that Trump's Mar-a-Lago club has consistently booked fewer charity banquets and events since his campaign announcement than in the seven years before. In 2014-15, just before he ran for office, Mar-a-Lago hosted 52 events — this year they've booked 25.

It's not like they're boycotting President Trump; one charity organizer said, "The decision was based on the disruption on getting into Mar-a-Lago, because of all the security and hassle."

Why it matters: WashPost found these charity banquets accounted for nearly half of the resort's $21 million annual revenue last year. They predict this could be the club's lowest season for charity rentals in nine years, meaning a key part of the Trump Organization could take a significant financial hit ("hundreds of thousands in lost revenue") — not a financial gain, as some might have predicted more guests would book now that he's president.

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Binary Capital delays fund close in wake of Justin Caldbeck situation

Binary Capital website

Binary Capital yesterday delayed its plans to close on upwards of $75 million in new capital for its second fund. This comes after co-founding partner Justin Caldbeck took an indefinite leave of absence in the wake of sexual harassment allegations by women entrepreneurs, Axios has learned.

Below is the note to investors, which was then followed by Caldbeck's longer statement about his leave of absence:

"I wanted everyone to be aware of two things: First we are not closing today given the recent press and secondly, I am issuing this statement immediately about the situation and my sorrow around it. I couldn't be more sorry for putting you in a bad position and will do everything I my power to rectify it."

The San Francisco-based venture firm originally raised $175 million for its second fund last summer, but was seeking additional capital after Lowercase Capital's Matt Mazzeo agreed to join as its third general partner. It is unclear how close Binary had gotten to its $75 million goal, nor what it plans to do next. A firm spokesman declined comment, while an investor says there are "lots of conversations ongoing."

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Mike Pompeo: Trump admin plans on "punishing" leakers

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Mike Pompeo was the first guest on Hugh Hewitt's new MSNBC show. As CIA director, Pompeo was brought on the show to answer vital questions about intelligence and how the White House plans on handling their continued issue with leakers revealing info.

"We, and I would say all of President Trump's government, is incredibly focused on both stopping leaks of any kind from any agency, and when they happen pursuing them with incredible vigor," Pompeo said, adding, "and I think we'll have some successes both on the deterrence side, that is stopping them from happening, as well as on punishing those who we catch who have done it."

Pompeo argued there's an almost obsession with leakers:

"In some ways, I do think it's accelerated. I think there is a phenomenon, the worship of Edward Snowden, and those who steal American secrets for the purpose of self-aggrandizement or money or for whatever their motivation may be, does seem to be on the increase."

And he detailed who's trying to access classified info:

"It's tough. You now have not only nation states trying to steal our stuff, but non-state, hostile intelligence services, well-funded — folks like WikiLeaks, out there trying to steal American secrets for the sole purpose of undermining the United States and democracy."

Pompeo described how Trump and Obama differ in the way they communicated with the intelligence community:

"President Obama consumed his intelligence in a different way. President Trump is incredibly demanding of the intelligence community, asks us incredibly difficult questions, and then counts on myself and other leaders in the IC to deliver those answers for him."

And he responded to criticism that some say Trump is "uninterested in facts":

"I cannot imagine a statement that is any more false than the one that would attribute President Trump not being interested in intelligence and facts when it comes to national security. He is an avid consumer of the products we provide, thinks about them, and comes back and asks great questions. And then, perhaps most importantly, relies upon that information."