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Photo: Axios

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) told an Axios virtual event this week that he believes Congress needs to pass strong climate and clean energy measures in the reconciliation package if the U.S. wants to be a leader at the UN climate summit in November.

Why it matters via Axios' Ben Geman: The world is nowhere near starting the steep greenhouse gas emissions cuts needed to keep the goals of the Paris climate agreement within reach. The summit is seen as a critical forum to spur more aggressive steps.

What he's saying: "If the United States is going to be the leader, we have to pass this legislation," Markey said.

  • "You cannot preach temperance from a barstool, you cannot tell the rest of the world that they should reduce their emissions if we ourselves are not leading the way," he added.
  • "So, the passage of all of this legislation is the precondition to a successful summit where President Biden is able to say to the leaders in the leading industrialized countries in the world that they, too, have to partner with us in order to save the planet."
  • "But first, Congress must act or else the president will not have enough on the table in order to persuade them that the United States is serious about these issues."

Watch the full event here.

Editor's note: This interview was conducted prior to Democrats announcing a deal on a $3.5 trillion outline to address "human" infrastructure, which they plan to pass via reconciliation.

Go deeper

Net-zero emissions fight breaks out before COP26

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.

White House unveils landmark reports on climate links to security, migration

Photo Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Biden administration on Thursday released a sweeping set of assessments on climate change's threat to national security and its role in fueling migration.

Why it matters: One of the key products, a formal National Intelligence Estimate on climate change, marks the first time all 18 elements of the U.S. intelligence community have released a consensus report on the topic.

Study: More infectious diseases inevitable due to climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Climate change is creating ideal conditions for infectious diseases to spread more quickly, according to The Lancet Countdown's annual climate report out Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's just one of the increasingly urgent threats to human health emerging from global climate change.

The big picture: Climate studies show that extreme weather events — such as more powerful hurricanes, heavier rainstorms, larger wildfires and hotter and longer-lasting heat waves — are worsening worldwide due to the burning of fossil fuels for energy, Axios' Andrew Freeman reports.

  • These events have had serious impacts on the health of entire regions and the vulnerable causing preventable deaths, food and water insecurity and the spread of infectious diseases.