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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new insta-analysis of China's vow to achieve "carbon neutrality" before 2060 helps to underscore why Tuesday's announcement sent shockwaves through the climate and energy world.

Why it matters: Per the Climate Action Tracker, a research group, following through would lower projected global warming 0.2 to 0.3°C. That's a lot!

  • If all countries' existing pledges under the Paris climate deal were implemented, they estimate a rise of 2.7°C above preindustrial levels by 2100.
  • But if China followed through, it would bring that to 2.4 to 2.5°C, they project.
  • The goal of the Paris deal is to hold warming "well below" 2°C and ideally limit it to 1.5°C, but analysts say the lower level is slipping out of reach very fast.

Yes, but: There's no reason to take China's pledge at face value right now, especially before any information on the planned implementation surfaces.

  • And there's quite the disconnect between the long-term goal and China's existing situation.
  • A new analysis posted over at Carbon Brief finds that China is "focusing its post-Covid recovery on high-carbon energy and infrastructure."

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 28, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Microsoft backs direct air capture player Climeworks

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Microsoft this morning disclosed investments in more climate-related companies as part of efforts to make good on its year-old pledge to become "carbon negative" by 2030.

Driving the news: One company the tech behemoth is staking is Climeworks, a firm looking to scale up deployment of direct air capture technology that removes CO2 already in the atmosphere.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden to sign major climate orders, setting up clash with oil industry

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden will sign new executive actions today that provide the clearest signs yet of his climate plans — elevating the issue to a national security priority and kicking off an intense battle with the oil industry.

Driving the news: One move will freeze issuance of new oil-and-gas leases on public lands and waters "to the extent possible," per a White House summary.

New York AG finds Cuomo sexually harassed women, violated state and federal law

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

An independent investigation found that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, including employees in his office, in violation of state and federal law, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: Cuomo, who has denied wrongdoing and urged critics to wait for the results of the independent inquiry, will now face renewed pressure to resign. He must also determine whether he will continue his 2022 re-election campaign.

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