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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 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Report: Pentagon watchdog finds Ronny Jackson drank on duty and harassed staff

Rep. Ronny Jackson walking through the Canon Tunnel to the U.S. Capitol in January. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) allegedly made "sexual and denigrating" comments about a female staffer, drank alcohol and took sleeping medication while working as White House physician, according to an official report obtained by CNN Tuesday night.

Driving the news: The Department of Defense inspector general's report stems from a years-long investigation. Jackson has called the allegations "false and fabricated."

DOJ pressed to enforce Al Jazeera foreign agent ruling

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Justice Department is being pressed to enforce its own demand that the U.S. arm of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera register as a foreign agent.

Why it matters: The launch of Al Jazeera's new right-of-center U.S. media venture, Rightly, has refocused attention on the media company's alleged links to Doha, and DOJ's efforts to crack down on media outlets viewed as foreign interest mouthpieces.

Poll: Immigration is America's most-polarizing issue

Data: The American Aspirations Index/Populace; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Immigration was found to be the most polarizing issue in America based on new polling from Populace.

Why it matters: Americans have surprisingly similar priorities for the U.S., but immigration stands out as one of the few issues with clear partisan differences. It underscores the challenge for advocates and lawmakers hoping to pass immigration reform in the coming weeks amid narrow margins in Congress.