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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 48 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The massive early vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Saturday had already reached 65.5% of 2016's total turnout, according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat.
  2. World: Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  5. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.