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Michael Bloomberg on January 29, 2019 in Nashua, New Hampshire. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Billionaire and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is putting $500 million into his new "Beyond Carbon" campaign, which aims to wean the U.S. off coal and halt construction of new natural gas-fired power plants.

The big picture: The push to help create a "100% clean energy economy" will devote resources to state and local efforts, Bloomberg said via his philanthropy.

  • A major goal of the campaign, which builds on his "Beyond Coal" work with the Sierra Club, is closing all U.S. coal plants by 2030.

But, but, but: As I noted when Bloomberg teased the new campaign in March, battling gas — which has gained ground in power markets at coal's expense —could be even tougher.

Where it stands: The campaign will also focus on low-carbon transit, EV deployment, climate-friendly manufacturing and emissions from buildings, the announcement states.

Go deeper: Why the U.S. coal industry is choking

Go deeper

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems invoke Robert Byrd to sell Manchin on Senate rules changes

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Diana Walker, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A small group of Senate Democrats is privately invoking the legacy of late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd in an effort to sway Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support their plans to change the chamber's rules, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Manchin — who holds Byrd's Senate seat — has often referenced his predecessor's strong moral conviction and insistence on preserving the Senate as an institution, as justification for some of his tough positions.

House votes to ban imports from Xinjiang over forced labor concerns

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The House voted 428-1 on Wednesday to pass a bill that would ban all imports from the Chinese region of Xinjiang unless the U.S. government determines that the products were not made with forced labor.

Why it matters: Both the Trump and Biden administrations, as well as several foreign parliaments, have recognized China's repression of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang as genocide.