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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Cities and states continue to push forward on their climate goals, raising their level of ambition as the White House prepares to host a global climate summit this week.

Why it matters: Cities account for a significant share of emissions and worked to reduce them despite the Trump-era federal pullback. City leaders also must prepare for climate impacts such as the sea-level rise and more intense heat waves.

Driving the news: On Friday, 96 more cities committed to halving their emissions by 50% by 2030, while aiming toward net zero by 2050, per C40 Cities, a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change.

This brings the total to 125 mayors from 31 countries, including the leaders of Bangkok, Mumbai, Rabat and Miami Beach.

By the numbers: Antha N. Williams, head of the environment program for Bloomberg Philanthropies, told Axios that local action helps provide the U.S. with gravitas on climate despite federal inaction.

  • "U.S. credibility on climate rests with the fact that local leaders have been delivering on climate action," she said.

Yes, but: While any city emissions cuts are helpful, they can only partially address some of the largest emissions sources nationally and internationally, such as transportation and electricity.

  • There are also questions about how much emissions reductions at the local level would have happened anyway with more cost-competitive renewables and other developments, absent the work of C40 and other initiatives.

Go deeper

U.S. and China agree to take joint climate action

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry waves as he arrives at the Elysee Presidential Palace on March 10, 2021 in Paris. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Despite an increasingly tense relationship, the U.S. and China agreed Saturday to work together to tackle global climate change, including by "raising ambition" for emissions cuts during the 2020s — a key goal of the Biden administration.

Why it matters: The joint communique released Saturday evening commits the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases to work together to keep the most ambitious temperature target contained in the Paris Climate Agreement viable by potentially taking additional emissions cuts prior to 2030.

The U.S. credibility chasm on climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The biggest hurdle for President Biden in winning new emissions reduction commitments at this week's White House summit is America's on-again, off-again history of climate change efforts.

Why it matters: The global community is off course to meet the temperature targets contained in the Paris Climate Agreement. The White House wants the summit Thursday and Friday to begin to change that.

Major satellite program launches to hunt for methane, carbon "super-emitters"

Map of part of the Permian Basin, showing methane emission hotspots in red. (Carbon Mapper)

A new era in monitoring compliance of environmental regulations is quickly approaching, signaled in part by plans announced Thursday to deploy a network of satellites that can pinpoint sources of of methane and carbon dioxide emissions.

Why it matters: The new nonprofit, known as Carbon Mapper, aims to launch its first satellite in 2023 that can detect methane super-emitters and track carbon emissions. If successful, it could transform the way policymakers regulate greenhouse gas emissions and also generate a wealth of data for public use.