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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The head of House Democrats' climate change panel has a simple reason why their wide-ranging plan includes nuclear power despite misgivings in some corner of the left.

What they're saying: “That’s what the scientists advised as we listened across the spectrum, that’s where we landed — that nuclear power needs to be part of the portfolio going forward,” Rep. Kathy Castor said on the new episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast.

  • The plan credits existing nuclear output in its proposed clean electricity mandate and also backs R&D into next-generation nuclear tech.

Why it matters: The interview provides a window into how Castor — and by extension House Democratic leaders — will navigate fault lines on the left if a political window opens to move climate legislation in 2021 or beyond.

  • Host Bill Loveless also asks about concern among unions over some provisions and about groups on the left flank of the environmental movement who want an even more aggressive template.

Listen here.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Oct 10, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Why climate change is a time bomb

Smokestacks in China. Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The costs of keeping global warming below 1.5°C would exceed the economic benefits up through the year 2100, according to a new study.

Why it matters: One of the biggest challenges to climate action is time delay: we need to pay now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but we won't experience the full benefits of those actions for generations into the future.

Trump grants flurry of last-minute pardons

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty

President Trump issued 73 pardons and commuted the sentences of 70 individuals early Wednesday, 11 hours from leaving office.

Why it matters: It's a last-minute gift to some of the president's loyalists and an evident use of executive power with only hours left of his presidency. Axios reported in December that Trump planned to grant pardons to "every person who ever talked to me."

Trump revokes ethics order barring former aides from lobbying

Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty

Shortly after pardoning members of Congress and lobbyists convicted on corruption charges, President Trump revoked an executive order barring former officials from lobbying for five years after leaving his administration.

Why it matters: The order, which was signed eight days after he took office, was an attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to "drain the swamp."

  • But with less than 12 hours left in office, Trump has now removed those limitations on his own aides.