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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The world’s dual attempts at addressing climate change and increasing access to energy are set to clash at an annual United Nations conference.

Driving the news: A seminal report released Oct. 8 by a UN scientific body ahead of the December confab underscored the urgency of climate change and what drastic efforts should be taken to address it.

The intrigue: The conference is being held in Katowice, Poland — a small city known for its history mining coal in a country still heavily dependent upon the resource.

  • Coal emits the most carbon dioxide compared to other fossil fuels.
  • It has historically been the cheapest and most prevalent electricity option in many countries.
  • Coal remains the dominant power source in many of the world’s fastest-growing economies like China and India, which prioritize cheap energy access ahead of environmental concerns.

The details: Negotiators from hundreds of countries, including the U.S., will hash out additional details on the big 2015 climate accord agreed to in Paris.

  • Trump administration officials are expected to attend this year’s conference, like they did last year.
  • But there's unlikely to be any movement toward reconsidering President Trump’s vow, articulated at a Rose Garden speech in June 2017, to withdraw America from the deal.

Sign up for the daily Axios energy newsletter Generate by Ben Geman, and my weekly Harder Line column here.

Go deeper

Air quality alerts issued as California fires threaten more sequoias

The Windy Fire blazes through the Long Meadow Grove of giant sequoia trees near the Trail of 100 Giants in Sequoia National Forest, near California Hot Springs, on Tuesday. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Two wildfires were threatening California's sequoia trees over overnight, hours after authorities issued fresh evacuation orders and warnings, along with air quality alerts on Wednesday.

The big picture: Officials in the Bay Area and the San Joaquin Valley issued air quality alerts as smoke from the Windy and KNP Complex fires resulted in hazy, "ash-filled" skies from Fresno to Tulare, the Los Angeles Times notes.

Asymptomatic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a September news conference in Viera, Fla. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Wednesday an emergency order allowing parents to decide whether their children should quarantine or stay in school if they're exposed to COVID-19, provided they're asymptomatic.

Why it matters: People infected with COVID-19 can spread the coronavirus starting from two days before they display symptoms, according to the CDC. Quarantine helps prevent the virus' spread.

Federal judge: Florida ban on sanctuary cities racially motivated

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday struck down parts of a Florida law aimed at banning local governments from establishing sanctuary city policies, arguing in part that the law is racially motivated and that it has the support of hate groups.

Why it matters: In a 110-page ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom said the law — signed and championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause because it was adopted with discriminatory motives.