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A top business trade association official and the CEO of a major pipeline company said Tuesday they want the federal government to do more on climate change — but they’re not actually backing any such plans.

Driving the news: Marty Durbin, a top official at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Williams Company CEO Alan Armstrong, speaking at a Bipartisan Policy Center event Tuesday, both said they think the government should create an economy-wide policy to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

But, but, but: They don’t support any pending proposals to do that, like a carbon tax or a clean energy standard.

  • They also aren’t advocating for the government to directly regulate emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that’s also the primary component of natural gas.
  • The Obama administration started to regulate emissions, but President Trump is rolling that back.
“We do have a lot of [member] companies who already are clearly saying they are for a price on carbon. Well, guess what, there are a lot of others that don’t. Clearly, we don’t have consensus among the members. So we don’t support a price on carbon at the moment. We’re also not opposing one. We’re not lobbying against a carbon tax of any kind.”
— Marty Durbin, president, U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global Energy Institute

Why it matters: It shows the fine line trade groups and companies are walking as they face mounting pressure from investors, the public and activists to engage on addressing climate change.

  • It also reveals how substantive support for big climate policy among some top industry officials is so far lacking despite an increase in rhetoric supporting such policy in general terms.

The context: The event, hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center (and, in full disclosure, moderated by yours truly) comes as the Senate debates the biggest energy bill in a decade.

  • The legislation boosts numerous kinds of clean technologies, but it doesn’t include any economy-wide policies or a goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The Chamber, as part of a diverse coalition of interest groups that includes some environmentalists, is calling on Congress to pass it. Durbin said Tuesday he realizes this alone won’t be sufficient to tackle climate change.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

5 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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