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Sunrun CEO Lynn Jurich said at an Axios virtual event on Wednesday that the transition to renewable energy from fossil fuels is "going to happen independently of any political regime," but that a potential Joe Biden presidency could help the U.S. make the transition faster.

Why it matters: The Trump administration has attempted to undermine the scientific consensus of climate change and promote fossil fuels. But Jurich says that technology and cost drivers have still created momentum toward a renewable transition.

What they're saying: "The technology exists to make this transition and the cost drivers are just so overwhelmingly in favor of renewables and storage becoming cheaper than fossil fuels. You're just already seeing that happen," Jurich said.

  • "The faster that we go, the more cost effective it's going to be, the less damage we're going to create," she continued.
  • "The next biggest global challenge, really ... is how do you decarbonize this energy industry globally? So, I view this very much as an opportunity and something where the U.S. should really be just moving faster on this. And that's why I look to the Biden program to help us."

What to watch: Biden admitted in the last presidential debate that he hopes to transition from the oil industry, saying it "pollutes significantly" and "has to be replaced by renewable energy over time."

  • Biden released his climate platform in June, which focuses on achieving net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050.
  • Since 80% of energy-related emissions came from fossil fuels last year, the industry will have to eventually disappear to achieve that goal, Biden argues.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden to sign major climate orders, setting up clash with oil industry

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden will sign new executive actions today that provide the clearest signs yet of his climate plans — elevating the issue to a national security priority and kicking off an intense battle with the oil industry.

Driving the news: One move will freeze issuance of new oil-and-gas leases on public lands and waters "to the extent possible," per a White House summary.

John Kerry: U.S.-China climate cooperation is a "critical standalone issue"

President Biden's special climate envoy John Kerry said Wednesday that the U.S. must deal with China on climate change as a "critical standalone issue," but stressed that confronting Beijing's human rights and trade abuses "will never be traded" for climate cooperation.

Why it matters: The last few years have brought about a bipartisan consensus on the threat posed by China. But as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China will be a vital player if the world is going to come close to reining in emissions on the scale needed to meet the Paris Agreement goals of limiting warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

Updated 31 mins ago - Sports

Japan's Naomi Osaka lights Olympic cauldron, kicking off Tokyo Games

Naomi Osaka lights the Olympic cauldron. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

After a year-long delay, the Olympics finally got underway Friday as tennis star Naomi Osaka, who is competing for Japan, lit the cauldron, formally kicking off the Tokyo Games.

The big picture: Friday's opening ceremony looked, like many things over the last year, different than normal — multicolored seats replaced cheering fans, masks were a central part of the athletes' uniforms and a subdued, somber tone marked the occasion.