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Yesterday, I moderated a panel with top executives at the American Wind Energy Association conference in Anaheim. Dispatches from my notebook:

The mood: Positive, even though they're facing a potential adversary in the White House after eight years of mostly friendly policies under President Obama.

About President Trump: Executives, including Karen Lane, chief financial officer for onshore Americas in the newly merged Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, agreed that the most important thing coming out of Washington isn't the budget or Trump's rhetoric, but instead stable tax policy, including keeping intact a 2015 congressional deal to extend for five years a production tax credit for wind energy.

Tom Kiernan, head of AWEA, touted wind's new position as America's top renewable energy source by generating capacity and urged fellow executives to make sure it stays there. Tristan Grimbert, president and CEO of EDF Renewable Energy and the newly elected chair of AWEA's board predicted the electric grid will change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 100 years. "The grid of the future will be distributed, decarbonized and digital," Grimbert told a packed crowd in Anaheim.

Go deeper

OIG: HHS misused millions of dollars intended for public health threats

Vaccine vials. Photo: Punit Paranjpe/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel alerted the White House and Congress on Wednesday of an investigation that found the Department of Health and Human Services misused millions of dollars that were budgeted for vaccine research and public health emergencies for Ebola, Zika and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: The more than 200-page investigation corroborated claims from a whistleblower, showing the agency's violation of the Purpose Statute spanned both the Obama and Trump administrations and paid for unrelated projects like salaries, news subscriptions and the removal of office furniture.

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 world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, 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.

In cyber espionage, U.S. is both hunted and hunter

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

American outrage over foreign cyber espionage, like Russia's SolarWinds hack, obscures the uncomfortable reality that the U.S. secretly does just the same thing to other countries.

Why it matters: Secrecy is often necessary in cyber spying to protect sources and methods, preserve strategic edges that may stem from purloined information, and prevent diplomatic incidents.

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