Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The apparent end of the Democratic primary's truly competitive phase will bring closer scrutiny of Joe Biden's climate and energy plans — and new efforts to change them.

The state of play: Bernie Sanders yesterday suggested that his mission in remaining in the race is pushing Biden left, and he name-checked climate change among the policy areas.

  • Sanders vowed to confront Biden on the topic at Sunday's debate in Arizona, saying he will ask:
"Joe, how are you going to respond to the scientists who tell us we have seven or eight years remaining to transform our energy system before irreparable harm takes place to this planet because of the ravages of climate change?"
  • The pro-Sanders Sunrise Movement, the youth-led group that has played a major role in pushing the Green New Deal into the political bloodstream, also indicated it would work to pressure Biden, per spokesperson Aracely Jimenez:
"It’s never been more important for the next Democratic president — whoever it is — to prioritize an aggressive Green New Deal that overhauls our economy and energy system while stimulating the economy for working people."

The intrigue: It's not clear how much leverage Sanders and the left flanks of the green movement will have.

  • That's because Biden isn't just eking out wins — he's running away with many states, which limits the power of Sanders and groups backing him to win concessions.
  • Biden's success also limits the incentive to change course, but that said, it's helpful for him to gain as much support as possible across the party's ideological and demographic spectrum.

The big picture: While Biden's wide-ranging climate plan goes much further than Obama-era policies, Sanders' is far more aggressive.

  • Sanders' $16 trillion Green New Deal plan includes calls to ban fracking, ban fossil fuel exports, and reach 100% renewables for power and transportation by 2030.

The bottom line: Don't forget that the differences between the plans shrink a lot if you consider what has any chance of getting through Congress and the courts.

Go deeper: Where Joe Biden stands on climate change

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 12,859,834 — Total deaths: 567,123 — Total recoveries — 7,062,085Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 3,297,501— Total deaths: 135,155 — Total recoveries: 1,006,326 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. States: Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases with over 15,000 — NYC reports zero coronavirus deaths for first time since pandemic hit.
  4. Public health: Ex-FDA chief projects "apex" of South's coronavirus curve in 2-3 weeks — Coronavirus testing czar: Lockdowns in hotspots "should be on the table"
  5. Education: Betsy DeVos says schools that don't reopen shouldn't get federal funds — Pelosi accuses Trump of "messing with the health of our children."

Scoop: How the White House is trying to trap leakers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has told several White House staffers he's fed specific nuggets of information to suspected leakers to see if they pass them on to reporters — a trap that would confirm his suspicions. "Meadows told me he was doing that," said one former White House official. "I don't know if it ever worked."

Why it matters: This hunt for leakers has put some White House staffers on edge, with multiple officials telling Axios that Meadows has been unusually vocal about his tactics. So far, he's caught only one person, for a minor leak.

11 GOP congressional nominees support QAnon conspiracy

Lauren Boebert posing in her restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, on April 24. Photo: Emily Kask/AFP

At least 11 Republican congressional nominees have publicly supported or defended the QAnon conspiracy theory movement or some of its tenets — and more aligned with the movement may still find a way onto ballots this year.

Why it matters: Their progress shows how a fringe online forum built on unsubstantiated claims and flagged as a threat by the FBI is seeking a foothold in the U.S. political mainstream.