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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democrats' Beltway drama over their $3.5 trillion spending package could influence the outcomes at a critical United Nations climate summit this fall.

Driving the news: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is calling for a "pause" in senior Democrats' plan to move a $3.5 trillion package that would include major clean energy and climate measures.

  • His move jeopardizes leadership hopes of passing the bill in October — and could spell trouble for its survival — because Senate Democrats need all their members to back the package or it dies.

Why it matters: The reconciliation plan is slated to contain measures vital to meeting President Biden's pledge under the Paris Agreement to slash U.S. greenhouse emissions in half by 2030 relative to 2005 levels.

The intrigue: Watch the clock.

  • The U.N. conference opens Oct. 31. If the U.S. walks in with big new policies in hand, that could help spur new steps by other nations.
  • If the bill is floundering, gutted, or dead, the credibility of President Biden's team will be wounded.

The big picture: The Paris Agreement calls for limiting global temperature rise to well below 2°C above preindustrial levels — and hopefully 1.5°C — to prevent some of the worst effects of climate change.

What they're saying: Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are pointing to Hurricane Ida as they push the bipartisan infrastructure package — which has new resilience and grid overhaul measures — and the Democrats-only plan.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 16, 2021 - Energy & Environment

First look: Greens seek K Street wedge on climate

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Environmentalists are pressing big companies with lofty climate goals to split with their lobbying associations over sweeping Democratic legislation that includes major new clean energy spending and tax incentives.

Driving the news: A suite of climate groups just released an open letter to two dozen companies — including Apple, Walmart, Coca-Cola and Amazon — in the Business Roundtable, which has voiced several concerns about Democrats' wider spending and tax package.

UN warns of "catastrophic" climate change failure without more emissions cuts

UN Secretary-General António Guterres at a news conference. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

A United Nations report released Friday warned that the planet will likely warm by more than 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century unless governments take extra steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Why it matters: The report, released just months ahead of November's UN Climate Summit, highlights the growing pressure on global leaders to crack down on emissions to avert the worst effects of climate change.

UN climate summit warning signs are adding up

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

There are growing signs that make-or-break climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, this fall won’t produce tangible plans for emissions cuts that keep the Paris agreement’s targets viable.

Why it matters: The climate summit is billed by world and environmental leaders as the last, best hope for securing the global commitments needed to get countries on track to avoiding potentially catastrophic levels of climate change during the next several decades.