Good morning! I'm filling in for Ben Geman, who is taking a well-deserved day off. What will you do with one extra day of your life? Happy Leap Year!
🚨🚨“Axios on HBO” returns with a bang: Roger Stone on his Christian salvation (clip); an in-depth interview with Weinstein prosecutor Cy Vance; and Kerry, Dukakis, others on Super Tuesday drama. Watch Sunday 6 pm ET/PT.
Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,093 words, ~ 4 minutes.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Politicians, corporations, the media and activists are talking about climate change more than ever — but most Americans are not.
Be smart: If you’re reading this on social media, you’re probably the exception, not the rule. Just 9% of Americans talk about climate change often, surveys by Yale and George Mason University indicate.
Why it matters: What people talk about is what ultimately rises as a priority among the public, says Anthony Leiserowitz, senior research scientist and director of Yale's Program on Climate Change Communication.
By the numbers: More than half — 59% — of Americans talk about climate change with their family or friends "rarely" or "never," according to the surveys. That figure has more or less remained unchanged for a dozen years. As of late last year, it’s still at 59%.
Driving the news: The volume of climate change coverage on nightly and Sunday broadcast news shows increased 68% from 2018 to 2019, according to a report out Thursday by the liberal nonprofit Media Matters.
“The climate community lives inside a green bubble, inside a green bubble, inside a green bubble. We see news articles about climate change every day. But that’s not the experience of most people, most of the time.”— Anthony Leiserowitz
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
A sweeping energy bill boosting federal support for everything from renewable energy to cybersecurity may get a vote as soon as next week.
Driving the news: The bipartisan leaders of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), introduced the American Energy Innovation Act yesterday.
One level deeper:
Where it stands: The bill drops as politicians in Washington and on the campaign trail debate how aggressively the U.S. government should tackle climate change. Lawmakers are engaging in what has become a perennial debate about whether to try to go big or go small(er) with climate and energy policy.
What they’re saying: Response to the bill was mixed, reflecting Washington’s overall divisions on the matter.
What’s next: The full Senate may vote on it as soon as next week.
Go deeper: Centrist Democrats join GOP on energy bill (The Washington Examiner)
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
In just a matter of weeks, top economists and investment bank analysts have gone from expecting the coronavirus outbreak to have minimal impact on the U.S. economy to warning that an outright recession may be on the horizon," Axios' Dion Rabouin writes.
What's happening: The spread of confirmed coronavirus cases in Europe, the Middle East and the U.S., and the speed at which they are being discovered has set the table for the outbreak to have a larger and much costlier impact on the U.S. and the rest of the world.
What they're saying: Business investment, which had declined through the last three quarters of 2019, could be further hit, Constance Hunter, chief economist at KPMG, tells Axios.
My thought bubble: Another upshot of a recession relevant to Generate readers would be that climate change action would likely be put on the back burner. It's a lot harder for countries to prioritize long-term, chronic and serious problems (like global warming) during an immediate crisis that could threaten people's jobs.
Reality check: Stories noting how China's CO2 emissions are dropping due to the coronavirus merely shows the difficulty of addressing climate change. It's like someone looking to lose weight is happy he's eating less when sick. It's not a strategy, is besides the point and is insensitive to those dealing with the outbreak.
Wind power has overcome hydroelectricity as the top renewable source of electricity generation in America, according to the Energy Information Administration, Axios' Orion Rummler reports.
The big picture: Wind and solar's capacity to fuel America is growing as they become increasingly cost competitive.
Details: Steady increases in wind generation over the past decade are partially due to the decades-old wind production tax credit being extended, the EIA says.