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Expand chart
Data: Rhodium Group; Chart: Axios Visuals

The corporate world and governments are awash in ambitious climate pledges, but two new reports underscore how the on-the-ground policy reality has not yet begun to spur steep emissions cuts.

Driving the news, part 1: The Rhodium Group consultancy is out with new projections of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions cuts under current federal and state policies.

  • As you can see above, the country is nowhere near on track to meet the recent White House pledge of 50%-52% U.S. cuts by 2030, while the longstanding 2025 target of 26%-28% reductions is a nearer miss (but the uncertainty band is large).

Driving the news, part 2: New International Energy Agency analysis shows that fossil fuels will be used to meet almost half of this year's projected 5% rebound in global electricity demand.

  • They see CO2 emissions from electricity, the largest global emissions source, rising 3.5% this year and another 2.5% in 2022.
  • Coal-fired generation, especially fueled by China, is slated to rise by 5% this year. "It will grow by a further 3% in 2022 and could set an all-time high," IEA notes (emphasis added).

Why it matters: This isn't the hottest take, but the upshot is that it's important to watch the specifics and implementation efforts that flow from headline-grabbing long-term commitments.

  • For the U.S., the biggest question right now is the fate of huge new investments and incentives the White House wants to move through Congress, as well as executive steps.
  • Globally, keep watch on the fate of aggressive new proposals in Europe, as well as how China fills in the blanks on its pledges, among other efforts.

What they're saying: "To shift to a sustainable trajectory, we need to massively step up investment in clean energy technologies — especially renewables and energy efficiency," Keisuke Sadamori, IEA's director of energy markets and security, said in a statement alongside the power report.

What we're watching: One thing on our U.S. radar is Rhodium's follow-up analysis coming this fall.It will explore "emissions impacts of a suite of federal and subnational actions that can help close the gap between the current U.S. emissions trajectory and ambitious decarbonization goals."

Go deeper

The case for climate change realism

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It’s getting harder and harder to communicate the two essential realities of human-caused climate change: that our failure to slow and eventually stop it is contributing to devastating human suffering all over the world, and that it’s not too late to act.

The big picture: Experts have long told climate communicators —including scientists, journalists and politicians — that disaster porn immobilizes people, leaving them cowering in a corner. You've got to give them a sense of hope, the research shows.

Manhattan, Westchester prosecutors request evidence from Cuomo investigation

Gov. Cuomo during a press conference in New York City on Aug. 2. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The district attorneys for Manhattan and Westchester County on Wednesday requested evidence related to New York Attorney General Letitia James' investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), according to a letter obtained by NBC News.

Why it matters: The district attorneys are investigating if alleged conduct highlighted in an independent report published by James' office that occurred in their jurisdictions was criminal in nature.

Scoop: Buzzy media startup Puck launches in beta

Puck.news

Puck, a splashy new digital media company, is coming out of stealth mode, Axios has learned. The company debuted its landing page, puck.news, on Wednesday, and will officially launch its website in September.

Why it matters: The company has been quietly building a roster of top talent, but hadn't confirmed its branding or exact business plans up until now.