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Expand chart
Reproduced from Gallup; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans are more split on the question of prioritizing the environment over economic growth than they have been in years, which could be a good sign for public support of President Biden's climate and economic agenda.

Driving the news: Historically, more people favor prioritizing the economy over the environment when unemployment is high, and the opposite when unemployment is low. 

  • But when asked by Gallup last month, half of the respondents agreed that the environment should be given priority, even at the risk of curbing economic growth.
  • 42% said the opposite in the annual poll — that economic growth should be given priority, even if the environment suffers some.
  • The 8 percentage point difference is the smallest it’s been since 2015.

Axios' Ben Geman and Andrew Freedman’s thought bubble: There’s little evidence that environmental protections are a brake on growth — and actual evidence shows that environmental protection and jobs growth can go hand in hand. It's not a choice between the two.

Why it matters: Ben writes that the findings suggest Biden has political running room to pursue his aggressive environmental and climate agenda because it’s happening alongside recent economic and job growth.

  • The White House is also extremely aware of the political peril around economic attacks on the plans, which is why they’re trying very hard to paint the infrastructure plan — stuffed with low-carbon energy and transit provisions — as a jobs plan, he adds.

What’s happening: President Biden’s infrastructure proposal (and larger macro level bet) is a blend of two of his top four priorities: climate change and the economy. 

Businesses stand ready: Hundreds of companies are signaling support for a clean-energy economy and are starting to prepare for regulatory changes as they look for ways to benefit from backing the larger infrastructure proposal. 

  • ExxonMobil, for example, says it wants to collaborate on carbon capture and storage projects in Texas.
  • A group of 300-plus corporations and investors issued a letter last week calling for the administration to commit to cutting emissions to “at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030.”

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jul 28, 2021 - Energy & Environment

The private climate finance surge

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There's so much private equity and infrastructure fund action in the climate tech space these days that it's hard to keep up.

Driving the news: Brookfield Asset Management on Tuesday closed $7 billion for its Global Transition Fund that aims to scale clean energy and help carbon-intensive industries cut emissions.

Updated Jul 29, 2021 - Economy & Business

U.S. economy grew at a 6.5% rate last quarter, missing expectations

Contractors work on a home under construction. (Photo: Micah Green/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The U.S. economy grew at an annualized 6.5% rate last quarter, the government said Thursday — slower than the 8.4% economists expected.

Why it matters: It came as the economy made strides toward further reopening, vaccinations rolled out and government stimulus bolstered spending. But supply crunches held the pace of growth back.

Jul 29, 2021 - Politics & Policy

First look: Biden adviser Donilon touts infrastructure deal

Mike Donilon. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

One of President Biden’s closest advisers, Mike Donilon, believes swing voters want Congress to pass the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal, and embrace solutions where the two parties "meet in the middle,” according to a memo first reported by Axios.

Why it matters: While Biden has faced doubters — especially in his own party — about his ability to work with Republicans, a core group of advisers, including Donilon, is convinced the president’s political fortunes rest on his ability to transcend partisanship.