May 24, 2018

The economic case for CO2 cuts that aren't happening

Power plants in Klitten, Germany. Photo: Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images

The economic rationale for deeply decarbonizing the global economy is getting stronger even as evidence mounts that the worldwide energy system is nowhere near on pace to make that happen. Axios' Andrew Freedman reports on a new, peer-reviewed paper, which shows that meeting the more stringent global temperature targets in the Paris climate deal would save countries trillions of dollars in economic output, outweighing the costs of reducing emissions.

But, but, but: The same day that paper came out, the International Energy Agency released its latest data on global growth of low-carbon energy technology deployment. While IEA sees progress, they said that just four of 38 energy technologies and sectors they track are on pace to create a pathway that achieves a temperature rise of well below 2°C.

And this week, the World Bank released a new analysis of the worldwide growth of carbon pricing, which refers to emissions trading or taxes that many view as essential in the fight against warming.

  • Their report shows that worldwide, 51 pricing systems at the national, subnational or regional level are in place or scheduled to be implemented.
  • But while pricing is on the march, those initiatives would still cover just a fifth of global emissions.

Don't forget: Separate reports in recent months have concluded that global CO2 emissions actually rose in 2017, ending a three-year plateau.

The bottom line: No matter how many analyses pile up showing the benefits of steep emissions cuts, making them happen on a scale to avoid blowing past 2°C of warming target remains a steep, steep uphill climb.

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Debate night: Candidates' last face-off before Super Tuesday

Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders wanted to keep his momentum after winning contests in New Hampshire and Nevada, while former Vice President Joe Biden hoped to keep his own campaign alive. The other five candidates were just trying to hang on.

What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination were in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday. They spoke, sometimes over each other, about health care, Russian interference in the election, foreign policy the economy, gun control, marijuana, education, and race.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

4 takeaways from the South Carolina debate

Former Vice President Joe Biden, right, makes a point during Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders listens. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The 10th Democratic debate was billed as the most consequential of the primary thus far, but Tuesday night's high-stakes affair was at times awkward and unfocused as moderators struggled to rein in candidates desperate to make one last splash before Saturday's primary in South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

The big picture: After cementing himself as the Democratic favorite with a sweeping win in Nevada, Sen. Bernie Sanders came under fire as the front-runner for the first time on the debate stage. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will be on the ballot for the first time next Tuesday, was a progressive foil once again, but he appeared more prepared after taking a drubbing at the Nevada debate.

Coronavirus spreads to Africa as U.S. soldier in South Korea tests positive

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

A 23-year-old American soldier stationed at Camp Carroll in South Korea has tested positive to the novel coronavirus, as the outbreak spreads to more countries.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 80,000 others, mostly in mainland China. Public health officials confirmed Tuesday the U.S. has 57 people with the novel coronavirus, mostly those repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health