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President Trump at a press conference in January. Photo: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images

President Trump is making life more complicated for climate change advocates and K Street alike — in ways obvious and sometimes less so.

Driving the news: The climate world was abuzz Wednesday at reports that Trump will imminently begin the one-year process to bail on the Paris agreement.

  • Trump announced his intent to abandon the deal in 2017, but formally setting it in motion would, as the New York Times put it, be a "powerful signal to the world" about the U.S. climate posture.

The big picture: Trump's climate stances — with the Paris move, pulling back regulations and rejecting consensus science — have shifted K Street's tectonic plates.

  • A number of big companies and business groups — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and oil giants like Shell — support the non-binding Paris pact.
  • Look for industry backers to reiterate that support when Trump sets the formal withdrawal clock ticking.
  • It's not the only rupture between the White House and powerful industries. Major automakers have balked at draft plans to prevent auto mileage standards from getting tougher, while oil giants don't like plans to abandon regulation of methane.

My thought bubble: Here's one of the subtle ways Trump is making things more complicated for climate advocates in some respects ...

  • By moving hard-right on climate, he gives powerful industries an opening to show climate credentials by merely staying to his left.
  • This is all happening at a time when advocates want far more aggressive steps from regulators and companies alike to confront climate change as global emissions keep rising.

Where it stands: There was no sign of that formal withdrawal notification when Trump spoke at a shale energy conference in Pennsylvania yesterday.

  • But he did use the speech to bash the agreement in comments that left the impression he thought the withdrawal was already complete.
  • "I withdrew the United States from the terrible, one-sided Paris climate accord," he said.

Go deeper

Instagram's boss faces Congress' questions on harm to teens

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for WIRED

The head of Instagram will find himself in Congress' crosshairs for the first time Wednesday in the one area lawmakers have shown they are willing to pass tech regulations — protecting youngsters online.

Why it matters: Republicans and Democrats have found common ground in grilling tech companies on how their products harm children, especially after revelations in The Wall Street Journal about Instagram's potential harm to the mental health of teen girls.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
57 mins ago - Health

Experts fear a bad flu season on top of COVID

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Public health officials are warning that the U.S. may be on the verge of a dangerous double whammy: COVID and flu, spreading simultaneously.

The big picture: The Delta variant is still circulating across the U.S., and the Omicron variant isn't far behind. On top of that, experts see potential warning signs of a bad flu season, which could leave millions of Americans vulnerable and strain health care resources.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Australia joins U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Australia is joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of human rights abuses committed by China's government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: After the Biden administration's announcement that U.S. officials won't attend the Games due to the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, Morrison said at a Sydney briefing that Australia would follow suit as "it's the right thing to do."