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John Kerry during an interview in New York City in September. Photo: Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images

U.S. special climate envoy John Kerry announced Monday that 24 additional countries agreed to a voluntary pledge to cut emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, by one-third by 2030.

Why it matters: The Global Methane Pledge, which the Biden administration announced with the European Union last month, now includes nine of the world's top 20 methane emitting countries, representing around 30% of total emissions and 60% of the global economy.

New pledgers include Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Sweden and Pakistan.

  • Argentina, Ghana, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Mexico and the United Kingdom agreed to the pact when it was first announced.

Yes, but: These are voluntary pledges for a yearslong plan. The key thing to watch is what tangible steps follow the nonbinding agreements from nations and corporations.

Thought bubble, via Axios' Andrew Freedman: Along with carbon dioxide, which is a long-lasting planet-warming gas, methane is a potent warming agent that acts in the near term, over the time span of one to two decades.

  • In recent years, methane emissions have been increasing quickly, and reducing them could have a near-immediate effect on the climate, studies show.
  • The new methane pledge is part of a Biden administration-led effort to pursue an all-encompassing strategy to slash emissions of planet-warming gases, from ozone-depleting substances to carbon dioxide.

The big picture: More than 20 leading philanthropic organizations also announced Monday that they will commit over $223 million to support implementation of the pledge.

  • The new commitments come just weeks before the UN is set to hold a climate summit in Glasgow on Oct. 31.

Go deeper: Pondering Biden's Plan(et) B if climate summit fails

Go deeper

Obama to attend UN climate summit in Glasgow

Former President Barack Obama speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Obama Presidential Center at Jackson Park in Chicago on Sept. 28. Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP

Former President Barack Obama will travel to Glasgow next month for the UN climate summit, CNN reports.

Driving the news: Obama will meet with young climate change advocates and "urge more robust action going forward by all of us — governments, the private sector, philanthropy and civil society," according to an Obama spokesperson, per CNN.

UNC race conscious admissions process upheld by judge

Students walk through the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Aug. 18, 2020 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can continue its race conscious admissions process, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

Why it matters: The case could end up in the Supreme Court after the conservative nonprofit Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) vowed to appeal the judge's ruling that UNC didn't discriminate against against white and Asian American applicants in its policy that it said was designed to increase diversity.

SEC debunks conspiracy theories about meme stock mania

Photo: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The SEC issued its long-awaited report on the meme stock mania, which downplayed the narrative that a "short squeeze" was the primary driver behind GameStop's historic stock moves — and shot down conspiracy theories about the event.

Why it matters: The postmortem was highly anticipated, largely because of what it could hint about what the regulator thinks should be done in wake of the saga. But the report stopped short of specific policy recommendations.