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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Several of the most politically vulnerable Senate Republicans are urging Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to include clean energy provisions in the next coronavirus economic recovery package.

Why it matters: The list of signatures is certainly a sign that vulnerable Republicans see a political upside in calling for clean energy policies. It also shows, once again, that energy politics can be quite regional, even in the era of hyper-partisanship.

Driving the news: Seven members signed a letter calling for "policies that will bolster jobs and innovation" around renewables, nuclear, carbon capture, efficiency, advanced transportation and storage.

  • Of the five facing re-election this year, three are in races listed as a "toss-up" by the respected Cook Political Report: Colorado's Cory Gardner, Maine's Susan Collins, and North Carolina's Thom Tillis. Cook lists the contest of another signer, Arizona's Martha McSally, as "lean Democratic."

What we don't know: Whether this might lead to the inclusion of energy-related provisions in the next economic aid package, which GOP leaders have opposed in prior pandemic response bills. There are also pressures in the other direction. Earlier this week, nine GOP senators signaled opposition to extending the availability of tax credits for building new wind projects.

The big picture: For months the renewables sector has been pushing for changes to existing policies, including the ability to quickly monetize tax incentives, but have not succeeded in the Senate.

  • The clean energy sector, broadly defined, has shed several hundred thousand jobs during the crisis, according to the BW Research Partnership.

What they're saying: "We can’t presume to know what Leader McConnell will decide to do, but it’s certainly meaningful that seven Republican senators wrote to him and urged him to include clean energy policies," said Solar Energy Industries Association president Abigail Ross Hopper.

  • She notes that polling shows that backing renewables is "clearly a winning election issue."

Go deeper: The GOP faces a generational gap on climate change

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 30, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Higher education expands its climate push

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New or expanded climate initiatives are popping up at several universities, a sign of the topic's rising prominence and recognition of the threats and opportunities it creates.

Why it matters: Climate and clean energy initiatives at colleges and universities are nothing new, but it shows expanded an campus focus as the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, and the world is nowhere near the steep emissions cuts that scientists say are needed to hold future warming in check.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.