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Evan Vucci / AP

After some delays, the White House plans to issue an executive order this week that will begin the long, hard bureaucratic slog of unwinding EPA's Clean Power Plan—that's the sweeping Obama-era regulation to cut carbon emissions from power plants.

Our thought bubble: If the White House indeed plows ahead with the executive order this week (and it has been pushed back before), it shows they're not worried about the fallout from the EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's high-profile comments Thursday disagreeing that carbon dioxide emissions are driving global warming.

A different playbook: Pruitt's comments cloud the GOP's messaging a bit, because for a while now the more mainstream GOP critics of Obama's rules have made arguments other than science more prominent, like that the rules will hurt the economy and exceed EPA's reach under the Clean Air Act. Whether he meant to or not, Pruitt has put science front and center in the fight again.

"I believe innovation is the key, not bigger government and trying to control the economy and limit the growth of our economy and job creation," Majority Whip John Cornyn told reporters in Houston on Friday. Cornyn, to be sure, is skeptical of scientific consensus on carbon's impact himself, but said: "To some extent we are stuck on this whole debate in ways that are not particularly productive."

The half-life of a gaffe:

Speaking of Pruitt's comments environmental lawyers tell me activists will likely use them in legal filings in their battles against the rollback of various climate regulations. "They will be able to use it as additional evidence that whatever the agency's action is, it is based on a profound lack of scientific knowledge," says one veteran Clean Air Act lawyer.

Go deeper

56 mins ago - Technology

Scoop: Facebook exec warns of "more bad headlines"

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

In a post to staffers Saturday obtained by Axios, Facebook VP of global affairs Nick Clegg warned the company that worse coverage could be on the way: “We need to steel ourselves for more bad headlines in the coming days, I’m afraid.”

Catch up quick: Roughly two dozen news outlets had agreed to hold stories based on leaked materials from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen for Monday publication — but the embargo fell apart Friday night as participating newsrooms posted a batch of articles ahead of the weekend.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

Inside Biden's Taiwan flubs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Twice this year, President Biden has blurted out commitments that the U.S. is prepared to defend Taiwan against a Chinese invasion — forcing the White House to walk back his statements and leading to confusion over a high-stakes national security policy.

Why it matters: U.S. defense officials have publicly aired their concerns that China will take Taiwan by force in the next four to six years, perhaps sooner. The president's position on this question may soon have real-world, life and death consequences.