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Axios screenshot

Melanie Nakagawa, special assistant to the president and senior director for climate and energy, said that the 2020 decade is the "decisive decade" to make meaningful climate change action.

Why it matters: "Collectively, if commitments, policies and action can deliver a 7.6% emissions reduction every year between 2020 and 2030, we can limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius," per the UN Environment program. "While there will still be climate impacts at 1.5 degrees Celsius, this is the level scientists say is associated with less devastating impacts than higher levels of global warming."

  • If no action is taken, temperatures would rise to 3.2 degrees Celsius this century, which would lead to even wider-ranging and more destructive climate impacts.
  • Any temperature above 2 degrees Celsius would lead to the disappearance of almost all reefs; the frequency and intensity of droughts, storms and extreme weather events would increase; insects would be twice as likely to lose half their habitat; among other consequences.

What she's saying: "I saw a great quote recently that says, you know, '2030 is the new 2050,' and I couldn't agree with that more. 2020 is really the decisive decade for action," Nakagawa said.

  • "There's got to be a roadmap towards [2050]. So what are you doing in your 2020s? When we're looking at accountability, that's what we're looking for, is: what are countries, what are private sector institutions, what are cities and towns and others doing in this decade — the 2020s — get us on that path to 2050."
  • "It's great to have a net zero 2050 timeline out there. But what's even better is to show us how you're getting there by 2030 ... It's one where actually we have a roadmap that gets you there and has the glide path towards the 2050s and that really means that now, the 2020s, is the time to really think through. How does that glide path work and what are the actions we're taking now, and in the next few years they're getting us towards those net zero targets."

Go deeper: Biden pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 52% by 2030

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Apr 27, 2021 - Economy & Business

The college degree barrier to work

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There are millions of Americans who have the skills to get higher-level, higher-paying jobs but aren't considered for those roles because they don't have college degrees.

Why it matters: Companies hire based on credentials, not skills — and that's limiting the economic mobility of millions of skilled workers without degrees and leaving firms with smaller pools of talent.

CEOs feel the pressure to act on climate change

Axios' Courtenay Brown and Ceres CEO Mindy Lubber. Photo: Axios

CEOs feel the pressure to take action on climate change in the absence of government regulation, executives at Patagonia and Ceres said at an Axios virtual event on Tuesday.

What they're saying: Federal and state regulators, starting with the Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Reserve, should not let policies to offset climate change be voluntary for businesses, Mindy Lubber, CEO and president of the sustainable investment advocacy group Ceres, said.

The states ending federal pandemic unemployment benefits early

Protesters demand senators support the continuation of unemployment benefits on July 16, 2020 in Miami Springs, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

At least 12 Republican-led states have announced they are terminating their involvement in federal pandemic-related unemployment programs early.

Driving the news: Many of the states' governors cited worker shortages. But some experts say it's the job climate, including pandemic-era factors, and not unemployment benefits that is determining when and how people return to work.