Aug 16, 2017

Trump breaks from Washington Republicans on climate

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Most Republicans in Washington have tacitly supported efforts to respond to the impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels, even while not acknowledging it as a policy issue. President Trump's executive order on infrastructure Tuesday goes counter to that trend.

Driving the news: Trump's order repeals a previous one his predecessor issued that required federal agencies to consider future flood risk when spending money on infrastructure projects, including homes with federally backed mortgages, per Bloomberg. Then-President Obama's executive order didn't create much GOP pushback at the time of its release in 2015 and received broad support from local leaders and city planners across the country. Even some conservative groups, such as the R Street Institute, are criticizing Trump's move, arguing it will waste taxpayer dollars by investing in projects that will likely face flood damage at some point.

Why it matters: This repeal reaffirms Trump's broad attack on everything Obama did on climate change, even those that are comparatively non-controversial and more imminently relevant than intangible carbon-reduction policies. It also goes counter to what Trump as a businessman has done. An application to build a sea wall around one of his golf courses cites climate change as the need for it, Politico reported last year.

A White House official said the order wouldn't prohibit states and local agencies from using more stringent standards, per the NYT. That's yet another sign of how any action to both mitigate and adapt to climate change will be outside of Washington, D.C., for the next few years at least.

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Pro-Hong Kong resolution at British university fails after Chinese student opposition

A protester waves the Hong Kong colonial flag during a July 2019 demonstration against the extradition law to China. Photo: Ivan Abreu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A student resolution expressing support for the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement was voted down at the University of Warwick in England, after opposition from mainland Chinese students.

Why it matters: The charged politics of China's actions in Hong Kong are spilling over to university campuses thousands of miles away, raising questions for students and university administrators about how to protect democratic values.

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

California announced Monday that places of worship and retailers can reopen statewide if they maintain strict measures and meet certain other conditions.

Zoom in: The state health department said in new guidance attendance for churches and other places of worship must have approval from county health officials to reopen and cap attendance at 25% of the building's capacity or no more than 100 people. In-store retail can resume statewide.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Brazil on Monday recorded for the first time more deaths from the novel coronavirus in a single day than the United States, Reuters notes. Brazil reported 807 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, compared to 620 in the U.S. for the same period.

By the numbers: Almost 5.5 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.2 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.6 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,900 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.