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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Here's a sign of how tough it'll be to win new emissions-cutting moves at COP26: Big developing nations are refusing to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Driving the news: That's spelled out in a new statement from countries including China, the biggest greenhouse gas emitter by far, as well as India and Indonesia.

Why it matters: Scientific reports have shown that such a target is necessary for reaching the 1.5°C or 2°C Paris targets. Agreeing to net-zero emissions by midcentury is a central goal of the U.S. and U.K., which is hosting the talks.

The big picture: Developing countries see calls for net-zero commitments by all nations by 2050 to be moving the goalposts for climate action.

Between the lines: The ministerial statement criticizes developed countries for repeatedly breaking their emissions reduction and financial aid commitments.

  • China, India and other signatories say industrialized countries need to rapidly decarbonize by 2030 while giving other nations the opportunity to pursue emissions cuts over the longer term.
  • “Developed countries have in fact increased their emissions between 1990 and 2020,” the document states, taking note that $100 billion a year in financial assistance from wealthier countries promised as early as 2009 has not materialized.
  • “These failures to deliver on the commitments agreed to by developed countries undermines trust and confidence in the multilateral system,” the countries state.

The bottom line: As climate expert, Li Shuo of Greenpeace, tweeted in response to the statement, “Glasgow will be one of the most difficult COPs in recent years.”

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated Nov 30, 2021 - Economy & Business

Crypto meets the real world

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

The two largest countries in the world seem intent on effectively banning their citizens from participating in crypto, which poses a serious threat to the crypto agenda.

Why it matters: The crypto world is global — but the real world is fragmented into nation-states, each of which claims control of what happens within its borders.

California father and son accused of "reckless arson" in Calder Fire

Firefighters at the Caldor Fire along Highway 89 west of Lake Tahoe, California, in September. Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California officials said they arrested a father and son Wednesday on suspicion of starting the Caldor Fire, which threatened the Lake Tahoe area as it burned for over two months earlier this year. They deny any wrongdoing.

Why it matters: The wildfire was the 15th-biggest ever recorded in California, razing more than 1,000 structures, forcing thousands to evacuate and injuring five people as it burned across nearly 222,000 acres of land in El Dorado, Amador and Alpine counties.

New Zealand aims to create smoke-free generation with tobacco ban

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a December news conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand officials announced Thursday legislative plans to outlaw smoking by making it illegal to sell or supply tobacco products to the next generation as part of a lifetime ban.

Why it matters: "People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco," Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in a statement announcing the proposed law, part of the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan.