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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Microsoft is pushing aggressive goals to tackle climate change while simultaneously supporting House Republicans' more modest efforts on the matter.

Driving the news: On Thursday, Microsoft announced its new pledge to become carbon negative in 10 years, while earlier in the week its president, Brad Smith, expressed support for House Republicans’ far narrower efforts on climate.

Why it matters: These two developments reflect a common split-screen dynamic playing out across America. Many corporate leaders are promising aggressive action on climate change within their own firms while taking far more conciliatory tones when it comes to what, if anything, they want lawmakers on Capitol Hill to do.

The intrigue: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) hosted a meeting Thursday during which more than a hundred Republican members discussed policies the party could present as a way to address climate change.

  • This focus, which marks a shift away from denying or ignoring the problem over the last decade, comes as voters — especially younger ones — are more concerned about the matter.
  • Policies Republicans are discussing include expediting small modular nuclear power and expanding tax credits for carbon capture technology — but no comprehensive proposals, such as a price on carbon dioxide emissions.
  • McCarthy said he shared some of the ideas with Smith in a phone call earlier this week.
  • A Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed the call and the overall sentiment of it.

What they're saying: “[Microsoft] said, ‘We want to help you with that. We want to be a part of that,’" McCarthy told Axios Thursday in an interview. “The basis was, they said, ‘We like your approach because you’re basing it on science, technology and it’s really looking at the problem and solving it.’"

Between the lines: Microsoft has been vocal about its support for aggressive action on climate change. This includes recently doubling its internal price on CO2 and joining a group that supports a carbon price in Congress.

  • However, it is not funding a related campaign, American for Carbon Dividends, which is directly lobbying Congress on the policy.
  • McCarthy reiterated his long-standing opposition to a carbon tax in the interview Thursday.

What’s next: House Republicans are looking to unveil a package of related legislation in the spring.

Go deeper: Microsoft vows to become "carbon negative" by 2030

Go deeper

Complaint to FTC: Amazon search results full of potentially deceiving ads

Photo: Nigel Kirby/Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Amazon does not sufficiently distinguish between its search results and paid ads, potentially "deceiving millions of consumers," according to a complaint filed to the Federal Trade Commission.

Why it matters: Joan Moriarty, research director for the Strategic Organizing Center, a coalition of labor unions that filed the complaint, told the Washington Post the group is "very hopeful" that the FTC will investigate the complaint because Lina Khan (D), a known Amazon critic, is now chair.

4 hours ago - Health

Pfizer-BioNTech: Booster doses more effective at blocking Omicron

Prepared doses of the BioNtech-Pfizer Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in Germany on Dec. 7. Photo: Thomas Kienzle/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said Wednesday that two doses of their COVID-19 vaccine were significantly less effective at neutralizing the Omicron variant in early lab tests, but a three-dose regimen was more effective.

Why it matters: Omicron, which has been labeled a variant of concern by the World Health Organization after being identified by scientists in South Africa last month, has forced vaccine makers to reassess the effectiveness of their vaccines against this specific new form of coronavirus.

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden unveils "Building a Better America" branding

President Biden speaks on infrastructure while visiting a bridge in Woodstock, N.H., last month. Photo: John Tully/Getty Images

President Biden today launched a new website and unveiled bold new branding as part of a nationwide tour to sell the benefits of his infrastructure package.

Why it matters: The White House says passage of the new law shows the ability to "forge bipartisan consensus and prove our democracy can deliver big wins" even in these toxic times.