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John Kerry. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry says COP26 may not get all the results he has been working toward, in part because Congress has yet to act on President Biden's ambitious climate agenda.

Driving the news: In an interview with the AP, Kerry says the negotiations in Glasgow, Scotland, may fall short of securing commitments from major emitters to stop burning coal and commit to aggressive near-term emissions cuts.

What they're saying: “By the time Glasgow’s over, we’re going to know who is doing their fair share, and who isn’t,” Kerry said.

  • “It would be wonderful if everybody came and everybody hit the 1.5 degrees mark now,” he said. “That would be terrific. But some countries just don’t have the energy mix yet that allows them to do that.”
  • Kerry said he's ultimately confident that Congress will pass major climate legislation, saying, “I don’t know what shape it’ll take ... or which piece of legislation, it’ll be in, but I believe we’re going to act responsibly.”

Our thought bubble: A key quote shows Kerry's frustration with Congress, where major legislation to address the climate crisis is stalled. This could damage U.S. credibility and leverage in Glasgow.

  • Failure to pass such legislation, he said, “Would be like President Trump pulling out of the Paris agreement, again."
  • He did say, though, that he thinks Congress will ultimately pass some form of climate legislation.

The big picture: China, India and other major coal-consuming countries may currently be reluctant to commit to aggressive emissions cuts or coal phaseouts at the talks because of a growing energy crisis.

  • Kerry will be traveling to Mexico and Saudi Arabia, where he is expected to secure last-minute climate pledges before the summit begins on Oct. 31.

Go deeper: Global energy crisis could dim climate hopes

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
14 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Democrats' clean power outlook is very muddy

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Here are two big questions as a key Democratic proposal to slash emissions from power generation flounders: how much its demise would sap climate protections, and what might replace it.

Catch up fast: New financial carrots and sticks for utilities to deploy zero-carbon power — the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) — look unlikely to stay in Democrats' big social spending and climate bill.

18 hours ago - Podcasts

Biden, Manchin and climate change

There was lots of news over the weekend about West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s opposition to a crucial piece of President Biden's proposed climate agenda. That piece would encourage wind, solar, and other zero carbon sources of clean electricity. Axios' Ben Geman has a reality check.

  • Plus, how the U.S. Secretary of Education says he's tackling crises in our public schools.
  • And, the history of American newspapers promoting lynching.

Guests: Axios' Ben Geman and Jonathan Swan; DeNeen Brown, associate professor at the University of Maryland and Washington Post reporter.

Credits: Axios Today is produced in partnership with Pushkin Industries. The team includes Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Dan Bobkoff, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Sabeena Singhani, Alex Sugiura, Lydia McMullen-Laird, Michael Hanf, and David Toledo. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at podcasts@axios.com. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

Go deeper:

Oct 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Congress begins yearend sprint

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The House and Senate face an onslaught of deadlines key to fulfilling members' campaign promises and keeping the government afloat as they return from recess this week.

Why it matters: The next few weeks will be pivotal to enacting President Biden's agenda — and determining how the Democratic Party fares in the midterm elections.