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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Negotiations at COP25, the 25th United Nations Climate Change conference, continued into the night Saturday as "major economies resisted calls for bolder climate commitments," Reuters reports from the Madrid summit.

Our thought bubble, per Axios' Ben Geman: This impasse shows how hard it's proving to transform the Paris climate agreement's vision into more concrete steps. It comes as the harms of the changing climate become more apparent in the present.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

What's new: Activists led by protest group Extinction Rebellion staged a mock hanging outside the UN summit venue. Reuters reports they also dumped manure at the scene with a message to leaders attached: "The horses--t stops here."

Between the lines: Geman notes that accounts from Madrid and statements circulated to reporters show how the dismay of advocates is palpable as the conference falls short of their hopes. Per Geman:

  • This year's annual summit follows fresh reports showing how far off track the world is from even beginning the steep emissions cuts needed to meet the goals of the Paris deal:
  1. Holding the global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and ideally limiting it to 1.5°C.
  2. The harms of the changing climate become more apparent even in the present.

What they're saying: Finland Environment Minister Krista Mikkonen, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said it'd be "impossible to leave" the summit without an agreement that delivered a "strong message" committed to redoubling pledges to cut emissions in 2020, per Reuters.

  • Grenada envoy Simon Stiell told AFP the "crazy" lack of progress at the climate talks "isn't reflective of the kids who are demonstrating on the streets the world over, communities being washed away by rising sea levels."

Read the UN COP25 draft decision:

Go deeper:

Editor's note: This article has been updated with details of the climate protest.

Go deeper

Symone Sanders leaving VP's office

Vice President Kamala Harris and her press secretary Symone Sanders. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Symone Sanders, senior advisor and chief spokesperson to Vice President Kamala Harris, is leaving the VP’s office by the end of this year, three White House officials told Axios on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The VP has faced an onslaught of criticism in her first year centered on her leadership and staff, adding to the suggestion, she’s not the Democratic Party’s preferred nominee for 2024.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated 3 hours ago - Health

Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The travel bans and border closures prompted by the Omicron variant likely won't fully prevent its spread, but that won't stop countries from leaning on the measures.

Why it matters: The rapid speed at which countries turned to travel bans with the emergence of Omicron indicates border controls will increasingly become a weapon against infectious disease — whether or not public health experts agree they are effective.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP fights itself on shutdown politics

Reporters question Senate Minority Whip John Thune before the Republican Party's weekly lunch on Tuesday. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

GOP leaders on Capitol Hill are scrambling to reach a deal with a bloc of 15 Senate Republicans threatening a government shutdown to force a fight over the Biden administration's vaccine mandates.

Why it matters: The push to defund the mandates — by holding the short-term government funding bill hostageis largely symbolic, and highly controversial within the Republican Party. A shutdown as early as midnight Friday could trigger everything from national park closures to delays in receiving Social Security checks.