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Photos: Images from Twitter (@Kaveri and @soandso), NASA

As millions of humans stay home around the world, pollution is alleviating — temporarily.

Why it matters: Images of clear skies over China and California, or fish swimming in in Venice’s canals, are a glimpse of what it might look like if we took better care of the Earth. But, as much as people seem to love sharing those images now, none of it's likely to last.

Reality check: Much of this temporary environmental reprieve will diminish once the economy picks back up again.

  • And of course, no one should want to curb pollution and tackle climate change via a deadly global pandemic, given the grave health and economic impacts the crisis is creating.

But one expert says images like these could instill in people more appreciation for clean skies and water, and motivate them to retain some of that even as we hop back into polluting cars, boats and airplanes again.

“This unfortunate massive slowdown in our global economy is also providing a glimpse of what nature could look like with clean waters in Venice and clean skies in China.”
— Valentina Kretzschmar, director of corporate research, consultancy Wood Mackenzie

One level deeper: Locking down large parts of China to contain spread of the novel coronavirus could have saved nearly 80,000 lives by reducing pollution in those areas, a new study found.

Go deeper: Coronavirus shows how slow-moving climate change really is

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Beto plans Texas comeback in governor's race

Former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke speaks during the Georgetown to Austin March for Democracy rally on July 31, 2021, in Austin, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is preparing to run for governor of Texas in 2022, with an announcement expected later this year, Texas political operatives tell Axios.

Why it matters: O'Rourke's entry would give Democrats a high-profile candidate with a national fundraising network to challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott — and give O’Rourke, a former three-term congressman from El Paso and 2020 presidential candidate and voting rights activist, a path to a political comeback.

Texas doctor says he performed an abortion in violation of state law

Pro-choice protesters march down Congress Avenue and back to the Texas state capitol in Austin, Texas, in July 2021. Photo: Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

A Texas doctor disclosed in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Saturday that he has performed an abortion in violation of the state's restrictive new abortion law, which effectively bans the procedure after six weeks.

Why it matters: Alan Braid's op-ed is a direct disclosure that will very likely result in legal action, thereby setting it up as a potential test case for how the abortion ban will be litigated, notes the New York Times.

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - Technology

Axios interview: Facebook to try for more transparency

Nick Clegg last year. Photo: Matthew Sobocinski/USA Today via Reuters

Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, tells me the company will try to provide more data to outside researchers to scrutinize the health of activity on Facebook and Instagram, following The Wall Street Journal's brutal look at internal documents.

Driving the news: Clegg didn't say that in his public response to the series. So I called him to push for what Facebook will actually do differently given the new dangers raised by The Journal.