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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

21 mins ago - Sports

U.S. swimmer Caeleb Dressel wins 50-meter freestyle final, sets new Olympic record

Caeleb Dressel during the men's 100m butterfly final at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Xavier Laine/Getty Images

American swimmer Caeleb Dressel won gold and set an Olympic record in the men's 50-meter freestyle on Saturday, beating his own world record that he set in 2020.

Details: Dressel won the race in 21.07 seconds. France's Florent Manaudou won the silver medal, and Brazil’s Bruno Fratus bagged the bronze.

2 hours ago - Health

Florida records most new daily COVID cases in state since pandemic began

Nurses bring a portable x-ray machine to a treatment tent outside the emergency department at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Florida, set up to serve as an overflow area as the number of COVID-19 infections surges throughout Brevard County. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida reported 21,683 new COVID-19 cases — the most in the state in a single day since the pandemic began, per data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday.

The big picture: Florida is now the U.S. coronavirus epicenter, with the Delta variant driving a surge, Axios Tampa Bay's Ben Montgomery notes.

Updated 5 hours ago - Health

Chart: Less than 0.1% of vaccinated Americans tested positive for COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: CDC and state Covid dashboards. Dani Alberti/Axios

Of the 164 million vaccinated Americans, around 125,000 people have tested positive for breakthrough infections and 0.001% have died, according to state data compiled from state dashboards by NBC and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: While "breakthrough cases" have been getting media attention, the low numbers show that the pandemic is mostly a threat for the unvaccinated population.