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Photo: Pierre- Philippe Marcou/AFP via Getty Images

COP25, a big United Nations climate summit, opens Monday in Madrid, Spain.

Why it matters: It follows fresh reports in recent days showing how the world is far off track from even beginning the steep emissions cuts needed to meet the Paris agreement's goals.

What we're watching: Negotiators will be trying to tackle outstanding decisions about how to implement the Paris deal. A big one is rules for international carbon credit markets.

  • "The issue is paramount to the integrity of the Paris Agreement and negotiators have warned that weak rules could undermine the entire accord and even lead to an increase in emissions," Climate Home News reports.

The big picture: More broadly, the summit is aimed at pushing big polluters to raise their ambition ahead of submitting revised emissions pledges next year.

  • UN Secretary-General António Guterres, at a press conference yesterday, said global efforts have been "utterly inadequate."
  • "In the crucial 12 months ahead, it is essential that we secure more ambitious national commitments — particularly from the main emitters — to immediately start reducing greenhouse gas emissions at a pace consistent to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050," he said.

The intrigue: The Trump administration, which is abandoning the agreement, is not sending high-profile officials or top White House aides to the talks.

  • The U.S. delegation is led by Marcia Bernicat, the principal deputy assistant secretary in the State Department's Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
  • However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is there today with a group of Democratic lawmakers.

Go deeper: Once a critic, Chamber of Commerce now backs Paris climate agreement

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 min ago - Energy & Environment

Biden's plan to upend Trump's environmental legacy

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden will on Wednesday order a government-wide review of over 100 Trump-era policies and direct agencies to prepare a suite of emissions and energy efficiency rules.

Why it matters: New information from transition officials offers the full scope of Biden's imminent, inauguration-day burst of environmental and energy policy moves.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 mins ago - Health

The public health presidency

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Joe Biden will take office today facing a challenge none of his modern predecessors have had to reckon with — his legacy will depend largely on how well he handles a once-in-a-century pandemic that's already raging out of control.

The big picture: Public health tends to be relatively apolitical and non-controversial. The limelight in health care politics typically belongs instead to debates over costs and coverage. But that will all change for the Biden administration.

D.C. braces for economic hit from scaled-back inauguration

Photo: Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The days leading up to and including Inauguration Day typically generate $31.4 million in additional sales for D.C. businesses — but not this year.

Why it matters: Washington's economy is already suffering from pandemic-induced closures, and could very much use the revelry and tourist dollars that Inauguration Day brings — instead of the large bills that will pile up if there's further mayhem or if visitors continue to stay away.