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On Wednesday, November 3rd, Axios World editor Dave Lawler and energy reporter Ben Geman discussed the COP26 United Nations climate conference as it unfolds, featuring UN Foundation President & CEO Elizabeth Cousens and UN Development Programme Administrator Achim Steiner.

Elizabeth Cousens highlighted environmental agreements from the conference that had stood out to her so far, how to transform climate-related conversations into tangible action, and how she would ultimately measure the success of the conference.

  • On advancements made at the conference so far: “We’ve already seen important advances in Glasgow this week...the direction of travel continues to be the right one. Everyone’s point of reference now is net zero. 90% of the global economy has made net zero pledges, that’s a critical development. Now all the focus is turning to delivery, to implementation, to how do we get to the goal of net zero as countries and others have set them.”
  • On defining successful climate action moving forward: “There are things we should have done 10, 20, 30 years ago that we didn’t do. We didn’t do them, but we can do them today, we can do them tomorrow, we can do them the next day. I think we’re going to get quite far in this COP, however far we get, we need to go farther the next day.”

Achim Steiner illustrated the environmental concerns of developing countries, how to address climate-related issues amidst the continuing pandemic, and how to improve financing processes for countries adapting to climate change.

  • On the economic barriers to investing in climate during the pandemic: “We are still in the midst of a pandemic, and for many developing countries, it’s not just the health crisis that it triggered, but it is really a social and economic crisis also...so that is an enormous constraint on them being able to invest in really making these transitions in the energy sector, in the mobility sector, in agriculture and land use.”
  • On the need to shift climate financing discussions: “International climate financing discussions have to move from this notion that this is some form of philanthropy or perhaps some short-term donations. We need to take a mindset of co-investing in one another because the vulnerability of hundreds of millions of people exposed to the risks of climate change will affect the global economy, will affect us all.”

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Study casts doubt on climate emissions pledge estimates

In an aerial view, floodwaters surround homes and farms on Nov. 20 in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A new analysis casts doubt on whether scientists can precisely estimate how much nations' combined emissions-cutting pledges will stem global warming, instead showing a wide range of potential outcomes.

Why it matters: World leaders need to know if emissions targets currently on the table would meet the Paris Agreement's temperature goals or if more stringent commitments are needed. The new study shows they may be placing too much faith in temperature projections.

Americans are super-sizing their holiday travel

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are rushing back into holiday travel, and many are taking even longer trips now than they did before the pandemic began.

The big picture: After skipping Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings last year, many people are eager to maximize this year's celebrations with friends and family. And flexible remote working arrangements make that easier than ever.

Updated 16 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.