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Expand chart
Data: The Breakthrough Institute; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

An analysis finds "increasing evidence" of a fraying connection between economic growth and higher carbon emissions — a needed first step toward steep CO2 cuts.

Driving the news: The Breakthrough Institute's Zeke Hausfather finds that since 2005, emissions have become "decoupled" from GDP growth in 32 nations with a population of at least 1 million people.

  • That is, emissions have fallen while the economy has grown in these nations, some of them are seen in the chart above.
  • This applies to territorial emissions, or "those within national borders," and consumption emissions, which means "emissions embodied in the goods consumed in a country."

Why it matters: "[W]ith the rapid cost reductions of clean energy and an expected peak in Chinese emissions in the next five to ten years, it is only a matter of time before absolute decoupling becomes the norm," writes Hausfather, a climate scientist.

Yes, but: "The extent to which this will occur rapidly enough to avoid dangerous levels of warming depends on both the degree of technological progress and the willingness of governments worldwide to invest in mitigating climate change," his analysis adds.

As he points out, significant emissions declines are needed to keep the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to well under 2℃ above pre-industrial levels.

Read the analysis.

Go deeper

White House claims climate credibility before summit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The White House is making the case that its climate moves to date create enough credibility to press other nations to bolster their commitments at an upcoming summit.

Where it stands: Congress has barely begun digesting President Biden's proposed $2.2 trillion infrastructure package that's stuffed with the biggest clean energy investments any president has put forward. But a top official hinted Tuesday that it would rely on all the climate policy moves it has set into motion when Biden convenes world leaders for a virtual White House climate summit on April 22-23.

Congress hunts for shortcut to pass defense funding, debt limit combo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer returned to his office Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The scramble in Congress to pass the National Defense Authorization Act is being complicated by an effort to tie it to a needed hike in the federal debt limit.

Why it matters: The House and Senate are rapidly coming up against a series of deadlines they must address before the end of the year — or risk disrupting crucial military funding and upending the economy. Congressional leaders are now hoping they can knock out both "must-pass" priorities in one, complex swoop.

Scoop: Inside Jake Sullivan's call with U.S. hostages' families

Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

National security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke last week with relatives of U.S. hostages and others wrongfully detained abroad, after more than two dozen families expressed frustrations about their inability to get a meeting with him or President Biden, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Participants on the video call, which began at 7pm ET Friday and lasted more than an hour, told Axios they didn't get satisfactory answers to many of their questions. Nonetheless, they were encouraged by Sullivan's commitment to follow up and pledge to be personally available to them and others going forward.