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Matt Brown / AP

A chic narrative in the wake of President Trump's decision to abandon the Paris deal and Obama-era rules is how much states, cities, and companies can fill the void. But three new pieces caught my eye that examine this theme:

Urban myth: This long analysis in Greentech Media argues that despite all the attention to cities' climate plans, "it's time to stop with the empty platitudes and face reality."

The long, not-subtle headline: "No, Cities Are Not Actually Leading on Climate. Enough With the Mindless Cheerleading."

  • Cities have basically been bystanders in decisions that have been driving down U.S. carbon emissions, such as: state-level renewables mandates, federal auto mileage standards, and the market-driven displacement of coal by natural gas.
  • Municipal efforts to cut energy use have been mixed, and data on building's electricity use is tough to find and arrives infrequently, while gains in solar power have been very limited.

Not enough: Over at the online magazine Undark, Zack Colman looks at the topic and concludes: "The smattering of cities, states and corporations vowing to tackle such a global issue are likely to fall short."

But that said: Over at The Conversation, a pair of Vanderbilt University professors take stock of the role that private actors — "corporations, civic and advocacy groups, private citizens, and even the Catholic Church" — can take to cut emissions.

Their piece calls these players crucial due to analyses showing that emissions pledges by governments worldwide will not, in sum, come close to limiting the global temperature rise to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

Go deeper

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."

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