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Rep. Bruce Westerman, who is co-sponsoring the Trillion Trees Act. Photo: Bill Clark/Getty Images

House Republicans will detail one pillar of their three-pronged climate plan on Wednesday, focused on capturing carbon emissions.

Driving the news: The policies include subsidizing tree growth to build more wooden buildings, making permanent a subsidy for technology capturing CO2, and boosting federal support for that same tech.

Where it stands: The prioritization of climate-change policies by top House Republicans is a sea change for a party whose leader — President Trump — dismisses the topic and whose members have either ignored or denied it for years.

  • The shift comes in response to younger voters' desire for politicians to be more pro-environment.
  • The ideas still fall short of what Democrats — and most experts — say is needed to adequately address the problem.

The intrigue: The trees policy is the newest idea Republicans are supporting and has drawn the most scrutiny, in part because Trump is backing a similar idea. Co-sponsored by Rep. Bruce Westerman of Arkansas, the bill would create a new subsidy for buildings whose material captures CO2, which would be wood.

  • The name of the bill, the Trillion Trees Act, represents an aspiration to plant 1 trillion trees around the world over a decade, which would translate into about 3.33 billion trees a year in the U.S., Westerman said in a recent interview. He says the U.S. already plants 2.5 billion a year, so the bill would mean an annual increase of 800 million.
  • “When we harvest trees sustainably and convert them into wood products, we’re storing that carbon,” Westerman said.

But, but, but: Critics are likely to find fault in the details and also the big picture of the measure.

  • The bill doesn’t address deforestation around the world, such as in Brazil, which stands in stark contrast to Westerman’s goal.
  • The measure, along with the others being discussed Wednesday, doesn't have emission-reduction goals.
  • When asked whether bigger policies are needed that directly reduce the emissions of oil, natural gas and coal — the primary energy sources heating up the planet — Westerman said yes so long as they presented “a measured approach that doesn’t wreck the economy.” He reiterated the GOP’s near-universal opposition to a price on carbon.

What’s next: House Republicans, led by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, plan to announce details of the other two pillars — clean energy and conservation, with a focus on plastic — in the coming weeks. A big event highlighting the entire plan is set for April.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Scoop: Border officials project 13,000 child migrants in May

The "El Chaparral" border crossing at Tijuana. Photo: Stringer/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

A Customs and Border Protection staffer told top administration officials Thursday the agency is projecting a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border in May, sources directly familiar with the discussion told Axios.

Why it matters: That projection would exceed the height of the 2019 crisis, which led to the infamous "kids-in-cages" disaster. It also underscores a rapidly escalating crisis for the Biden administration.

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U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia facilities in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.