Both sides of a lawsuit on damages from climate change will today in court reaffirm the scientific consensus that human activity is extremely likely to have caused global warming over the last century.

Why it matters: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has said he wants to host a public debate discussing to what degree humans are driving the Earth’s temperature to rise. Wednesday’s federal court hearing in San Francisco, in which California cities are suing big oil companies alleging they’re liable for damages related to climate change, is surprisingly providing that debate.

The hearing will directly contradict what Pruitt and other Trump administration officials have said, doubting human activity is a leading driver of climate change. Even the defendants in this case, including Exxon, Shell and Chevron, are expected to confirm the scientific consensus and contradict Pruitt’s positions.

The big picture: Wednesday's hearing, in a case brought by San Francisco and Oakland, is part of a broader legal push by liberal cities alleging that big oil companies have concealed what they knew about climate change and are liable for billions of dollars of damage caused by rising global temperatures.

The bottom line:

While conservative think tanks, political pundits, and industry-funded researchers are at liberty to say whatever they want, the courtroom demands a higher level of integrity. I expect the defendants will underscore points of uncertainty in the science, and highlight difficulties in attributing causation to particular actors. But the basics of climate science are not legitimately open to debate.”
— Michael Burger, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University

Go deeper: The flawed climate gambit against big oil.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 11,137,846 — Total deaths: 526,156 — Total recoveries — 6,003,824Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 2,809,108 — Total deaths: 129,509 — Total recoveries: 883,561 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: America's exceptionally uneventful Fourth of July ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: 31 MLB players test positive as workouts resume.
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.
2 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. has reached new highs in single-day coronavirus infections for three consecutive days this week, per data from Johns Hopkins and the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The number of coronavirus cases increased in the vast majority of states over the last week, and decreased in only two states plus the District of Columbia, Axios' Andrew Witherspoon and Caitlin Owens report.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Colorado police chief fires officers who reenacted Elijah McClain's death

LaWayne Mosley, father of Elijah McClain, wears a t-shirt with is son's picture on it during a press conference in Oct. 2019. Photo: Andy Cross/MediaNewsGroup/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Interim Aurora, Colo., police chief Vanessa Wilson fired two officers for reenacting the death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain and a third officer for commenting on the photo that captured the "despicable act," The Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: McClain died in the summer of 2019 after police officers held him in a chokehold and paramedics used a sedative, ketamine. People have been protesting McClain's death recently after the police killing of George Floyd revitalized the movement against police brutality.