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Expand chart
Data: BP; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Hopes for a breakthrough with Chinese leaders are hanging by a thread just two days before the UN climate summit, but the story's not over yet.

Catch up fast: China, in a long-awaited new submission to the UN Thursday, declined to speed up its existing pledge to reach peak carbon emissions before 2030.

Why it matters: China's by far the world's biggest emitter. Its path is key to whether the temperature-limiting goals of the Paris Agreement can remain within reach.

The big picture: The absence of a stronger pledge bummed out advocates ahead of COP26's opening Sunday.

  • "It doesn’t advance the ball sufficiently," U.S. climate envoy John Kerry told the NYT, and the story headline calls China's move a "bad omen" for COP26.
  • "China's decision casts a shadow on the global climate effort," Greenpeace's Li Shuo said.
  • Bernice Lee of the London-based Chatham House tells NewScientist that "you can't sugar-coat it" and the world was "expecting more."

Yes, but: These formal filings with the UN aren't the only venue for commitments.

  • "There is still a lot Beijing could do outside of these targets in the next two weeks at the G20 Summit in Rome and COP26 in Glasgow,"  said Byford Tsang of the climate think tank E3G.
  • That includes China "supporting a political commitment" to keeping warming to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels, and putting a sunset date on its coal use, Tsang said in a statement.

Go deeper: What to know about COP26 in Glasgow

Go deeper

JPMorgan CEO walks back joke about Chinese Communist Party

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon in Paris in June 2021. Photo: Michel Euler/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon walked back a recent critique of the Chinese Communist Party on Wednesday, saying he regrets joking that the bank will outlast the party in China.

Driving the news: Speaking at the Boston College Chief Executives Club Tuesday, Dimon noted that JPMorgan's Chinese operations and the CCP were both celebrating their 100th year anniversary in 2021 and said he would bet that the bank would outlive the party, according to Bloomberg.

Updated 12 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 14 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.