Beto O'Rourke (L) and Joe Biden (R). Photo: Stephen Lam/Getty Images and Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Beto O'Rourke said plenty about climate yesterday, Joe Biden said almost nothing, and it's not too early (or only a little early) to explore what it all says about the packed Democratic 2020 fight.

Driving the news: O'Rourke released an aggressive plan that would set an "enforceable" standard of getting the U.S. to net-zero emissions by 2050 and calls for several trillion of dollars in investments over a decade.

  • Biden, in his kickoff speech in Pennsylvania, didn't mention climate directly, but gave a brief nod to clean energy and its public health and jobs benefits. But, he just entered the race, so I'll be watching to see how he positions himself.

My thought bubble: Biden may have an incentive to avoid running left on climate because:

  • He's clearly making a big play for labor's support, and authors of the Green New Deal didn't corral backing from the national AFL-CIO, which has criticized the plan.
  • A number of major rivals for the nomination including Bernie Sanders are co-sponsoring the resolution, which provides Biden a chance for a contrast.
  • Biden is "not really trying to out-woke or out-liberal other Democrats anyway," writes FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver, noting his base is older and more moderate.
  • Interest in climate change, meanwhile, is more pronounced among younger voters. That could break either way, depending on what strategy he ultimately employs to widen his support.
  • Biden can be risk averse for now but still point to his record with former President Obama, who remains very popular with Democrats and went much further than any other president on climate.

Where it stands: Biden's campaign did not respond to inquiries about what place climate will have in his campaign or his thoughts on the GND.

  • His campaign website has almost no policy for now. As we noted when he got in, it says "we must turbocharge our efforts" to address climate change.
  • Per NYT, he introduced a climate bill back in 1986 and called climate change the "greatest threat to our security" at a rally last year.

What's next? The debates are coming up fast, and I'm wagering we're past the era where climate is mostly absent, so Biden will field the topic then if not sooner.

Now let's turn to O'Rourke, who made climate the topic of his first major policy proposal.

  • Its ambition and scope suggests that O'Rourke sees moving left on emissions as a way to attract younger and more progressive voters.
  • It's also a sign that he wants to compete directly for the climate candidate mantle with Sanders as well as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who has made climate the centerpiece of his run.

Go deeper: Read today's Generate newsletter for more on O'Rourke's proposal

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Updated 28 mins ago - World

At least 100 killed, much of Beirut destroyed in massive explosion

Photo: Anwar Amro/AFP via Getty Images

A major explosion Beirut, Lebanon has killed at least 100 people and injured over 4,000, according to the Lebanese Red Cross.

Driving the news: Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the explosions occurred at a warehouse that had been storing 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate for over six years.

Biden confidants see VP choices narrowing to Harris and Rice

Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images; Win McNamee/Getty Images

Confidants of Joe Biden believe his choices for vice president have narrowed to Sen. Kamala Harris and Susan Rice — and would be surprised if he picks anyone else.

The state of play: This is a snapshot of the nearly unanimous read that we get from more than a dozen people close to him.

An election like no other

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus will make the 2020 presidential election different from any in modern history: Voting that begins earlier, results that take longer, mail carriers as virtual poll workers and October Surprises that pop in September.

The big picture: Perhaps 80 million Americans will vote early, by mail or in person, Tom Bonier, CEO of TargetSmart, a Democratic political data firm, tells Axios. That's going to set up more of an Election Season than an Election Day — and increase the odds of national turmoil over the vote count.