Why it matters: Ominous forecasts about the impact of climate change serve as the backdrop for the world — led by U.S. lawmakers and companies — to debate big action on the problem, which could upend energy systems and our way of life.
The White House released an international finance strategy Thursday that aims to help other nations fight climate change.
The big picture: A major part of the wide-ranging plan, released as the White House climate summit takes place, calls for Congress to approve big increases in U.S. financing to help other nations curb emissions and adapt to warming.
The state of play: One major theme has already emerged: Investing in a zero-carbon future has moved from being a contrarian strategy with virtue-signaling upside, to being the central investing thesis for most giant financial institutions.
Senate Republicans formally rolled out the framework for their $568 billion counterproposal to President Biden's $2.5 trillion infrastructure plan on Thursday.
Why it matters: The package is far narrower than anything congressional Democrats or the White House would agree to, but it serves as a marker for what Republicans want out of a potential bipartisan deal.
Climate activist Greta Thunberg released a video Thursday denouncing world leaders for the "hypothetical targets" announced at President Biden's virtual climate summit this week.
Why it matters: The virtual summit came hours before Thunberg urged U.S. lawmakers "to listen to and act on the science" in testimony before a House Oversight Committee panel.
Multiple world leaders announced new targets for reducing greenhouse gases during President Biden's virtual climate summit, which featured more than 40 heads of state and other world and business leaders.
Why it matters: The goal of the summit is to spur more ambitious emissions reductions through non-binding commitments, bringing the world in line with the global warming goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
The chart above shows one reason cutting global emissions is so hard: the persistence of coal, especially in China, where demand for the most carbon-intensive fuel grew even during the pandemic.
The big picture: The International Energy Agency, in a report this week, said it sees global coal demand increasing by 4.5% in 2021 after last year's decline.
President Biden's new U.S. emissions-cutting target is a sign of White House ambition and a number that distills the tough political and policy maneuvers needed to realize those aims.
Driving the news: This morning the White House unveiled a nonbinding goal under the Paris Agreement that calls for cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 50%-52% by 2030 relative to 2005 levels.
The Biden administration is moving to address global warming by setting a new, economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 50% to 52% below 2005 levels by 2030.
Why it matters: The new, non-binding target is about twice as ambitious as the previous U.S. target of a 26% to 28% cut by 2025, which was set during the Obama administration. White House officials described the goal as ambitious but achievable during a call with reporters Tuesday night.
Japan on Thursday said it will seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 46% below 2013 levels by 2030, per the AP and other outlets.
Why it matters: The country is the world's fifth-largest largest carbon dioxide emitter and a major consumer of coal, oil and natural gas.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) declared an emergency executive order for two counties Wednesday, in order to accelerate the response to drought conditions affecting the northern part of the state.
Why it matters: California is in the second year of drought conditions, and the state is bracing for another potentially devastating fire season.
The Biden administration offered new details this morning about the big, virtual climate summit Thursday and Friday and signaled they expect new emissions reduction and climate finance commitments from multiple countries.
Driving the news: The administration said 40 heads of state would attend, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil.
There is broad and deep support in both developing and industrialized countries for governments to take further actions to address climate change, per new polling data from Facebook Data for Good and the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.
Why it matters: Without public support pushing policymakers to take potentially costly steps to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, efforts to rein in climate change will be doomed to fail.
Cisco is the latest tech giant to announce a big environmental push. The networking company said today that its foundation will invest $100 million over the next decade to fund projects that reduce carbon emissions as well as community awareness efforts.
The big picture: Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon have also made large environment-related investments. Despite these investments, the tech sector remains under pressure from activists to do more, as well as to cease work with fossil fuel companies.
A big, UN-backed umbrella group of banks, asset managers, investors and insurers launched Wednesday to boost private clean tech finance and press polluting industries that use their services to cut emissions.
Why it matters: The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) is the broadest financial industry effort yet on climate change.
Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend President Biden's virtual climate summit this week, according to China's foreign ministry.
Why it matters: It'll mark the first time the two leaders have met face to face — albeit virtually — since Biden took office. China and the U.S. are the world's two largest carbon emitters.