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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

At Wednesday night's climate change town hall, top Democratic presidential candidates will be challenged to lay out a climate strategy that is both effective and politically viable.

The big picture: Despite efforts by state governments and the private sector, the U.S. has a long way to go to formulate a coherent and globally credible climate strategy. A dedicated town hall offers Democratic primary voters a chance to scrutinize proposals like the sweeping Green New Deal and it reflects their growing sense of urgency around climate change.

What to watch: In the world of climate policy, there are technically credible plans that lack meaningful political support and bold political calls to action that neglect business, market and technical concerns. Candidates hoping to bridge that divide must attend to several overarching issues:

  • Reconciling climate action with populism and nationalism. Australia, Brazil and Canada have seen voters repudiate climate-centric strategies, and the question of “who pays” for climate action has sparked protests like France's “gilets jaunes” movement. Even in “deep blue” Washington state, a carbon tax ballot initiative was defeated in 2016 and again in 2018.
  • Wrestling with the future of oil and gas. Substitutes for petroleum fuel are still not at scale, particularly for trucking, shipping, rail and aviation. Two key questions, especially for voters in battleground states like Colorado and Pennsylvania, will be the speed of the transition candidates envision and how they see U.S. oil and gas exports fitting into it, if at all.
  • Weighing the role of carbon taxes. Debate has swirled around the right tax rates to decrease demand and whether to offset such taxes with consumer rebates or reductions in other types of taxes.

The bottom line: The town hall provides an initial opportunity for Democrats to convince voters that climate deserves to be more than what Trump calls a “niche” issue, but there is a long campaign ahead and no shortage of competing issues.

Robert Johnston is managing director for global energy and natural resources at Eurasia Group and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center.

Go deeper

Battle for the soul of a new web

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A well-funded and intensely motivated chunk of tech's hive mind is finding common cause in a vast new project: rebuilding the web on a foundation of cryptocurrency and blockchain tech. They call it "Web3."

The big picture: Developers, investors and early adopters imagine a future in which the technologies that enable Bitcoin and Ethereum will break up the concentrated power today's tech giants wield and usher in a golden age of individual empowerment and entrepreneurial freedom.

First look: Biden summons top CEOs on supply chain

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Biden will meet Monday afternoon with CEOs of big retailers, grocers and consumer-products firms to send this message, according to the White House: Products will be on shelves for holiday shopping.

Zoom out: Black Friday sales rebounded from 2020.

Thanksgiving box office shows theaters have long road to recovery

Photo of Disney's "Encanto;" Credit: Disney

Box office ticket sales over the Thanksgiving holiday show that consumer confidence in moviegoing is slowly improving, but not enough to bring the struggling theater industry back to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon, if ever.

Why it matters: "We may have to temper expectations a bit" for next year, said Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.