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A new report finds that a key multilateral initiative to scale up clean energy R&D and demonstration funding, called Mission Innovation (MI), isn't on pace to hit its targets.

Expand chart
Data: Information Technology and Innovation Foundation; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

What's happening: The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation takes the pulse of the program launched in late 2015, in which a suite of nations, including the U.S., pledged to double the clean energy R&D over 5 years to jointly reach roughly $30 billion.

Where it stands: "Early signs indicate that MI is spurring greater investment in energy R&D, though at the present rate, public RD&D among MI nations will increase by about 50 percent in 5 years, a far cry from doubling," ITIF senior policy analyst Colin Cunliff writes.

  • The chart above compares the "baseline" funding from select MI nations and their progress toward the goal of doubling investment.

Why it matters: ITIF's tally comes on the heels of major scientific reports about the dangers of climate change and fresh evidence that the global emissions trajectory is nowhere near what's needed to hold warming even relatively in check.

  • Global CO2 emissions rose in 2017 and this year after a 3-year plateau.

Threat level: While deployment of existing zero-carbon options is expanding rapidly worldwide, Cunliff argues that much more robust investment in technology is badly needed:

"[O]nly significantly greater levels of public investment in clean energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D) will produce the level of innovation necessary to dramatically reduce emissions from unabated fossil fuel consumption."

ICYMI: The major UN climate science report in October found that to hold global temperature rise to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels, net human-caused CO2 emissions must decline by 45% by 2030 compared to 2010 levels, and reach "net zero" by roughly midcentury.

What's next: Cunliff says countries should use the ongoing UN climate talks in Poland to reaffirm their commitment to the 2021 doubling goal.

  • He also calls for greater MI focus on economic sectors that are tough to decarbonize, including cement and steel production and transportation.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
6 hours ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania.