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A session of the 2018 UN General Assembly. Photo: Alexander Shcherbak/TASS via Getty Images

The decisions reached this month by two Indian states, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh, to stop building new coal plants align with a renewed call by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to end all such construction by 2020.

Why it matters: India's pipeline of planned new coal plants ranks second in size only to China's. These commitments by its state governments come ahead of next week's Climate Summit at the UN General Assembly, where countries will face strong pressure to back off support for expanding coal facilities.

Details: India has historically resisted global calls to halt coal expansion.

  • The commitment by the heavily industrialized state of Gujarat — whose 15.8 GW coal fleet is larger than the U.K.'s — was quickly followed by a similar pledge from Chhattisgarh, home to the country's third largest coal reserves.

Context: Guterres has used the conclusions of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports to press for a transition away from coal.

  • As one form of leverage, he may deny South Korea and Japan speaking slots at the summit because of their financial support for new coal plants around the world, according to the Financial Times.

What to watch: As the UN begins to draw a clearer line between countries supporting the Paris agreement goals and those ignoring them, more world leaders may soon announce plans to end coal expansion. A yet greater step, which Guterres has also called for, would be new limits on existing plants.

Justin Guay directs global climate strategy at the Sunrise Project and advises the ClimateWorks Foundation.

Go deeper

Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1pm the day after the article is transmitted.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Private equity bets on delayed tax reform in Biden administration

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

In normal times, private equity would be nervous about Democratic Party control of both the White House and Congress. But in pandemic-consumed 2021, the industry seems sanguine.

Driving the news: Industry executives and lobbyists paid very close attention to Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen's confirmation hearings this week, and came away convinced that tax reform isn't on the near-term agenda.