Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

There are growing signs that make-or-break climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, this fall won’t produce tangible plans for emissions cuts that keep the Paris agreement’s targets viable.

Why it matters: The climate summit is billed by world and environmental leaders as the last, best hope for securing the global commitments needed to get countries on track to avoiding potentially catastrophic levels of climate change during the next several decades.

  • Also at stake is crucial, long-promised financing for developing nations to better withstand the impacts of global warming.

State of play: The biggest stumbling block standing in the way of progress at COP26 is the lack of cooperation between the world’s two biggest emitters, the U.S. and China.

  • Hostility between the two countries on a host of issues has soured any potential cooperation on climate, dashing the Biden administration’s early hopes that it could separate climate, as Axios reported Tuesday.
  • John Kerry, the top U.S. climate emissary, failed to even secure an in-person meeting with high level Chinese leaders during a trip to China earlier this month, despite having hammered out a joint 2014 agreement along with President Obama that helped paved the way for success in Paris.

What they're saying: “I choose to be optimistic,” former Vice President Al Gore told Axios. “But a realistic view has to take into account the unwillingness thus far of China to increase its ambition for reducing emissions,” he said, noting the stark difference between now and the cooperation between the U.S. and China pre-Paris.

  • “China has not yet made the kind of commitments that can generate the momentum I would like to see in Glasgow, but there's still time,” Gore said.

What we're watching: COP26 organizers are scrambling to better the prospects for a successful summit.

  • UN Secretary-General António Guterres, together with U.K. Prime Minister and COP26 host Boris Johnson, announced an informal meeting of heads of state on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Monday.
  • President Biden is also stepping in with his own lobbying and coordination effort by inviting Johnson to the White House next week and holding a head-of-state-level, behind closed doors meeting Friday.
  • This meeting will discuss the need to commit to bolder emissions targets on both carbon dioxide, which is the main long-lived greenhouse gas, as well as methane, a powerful but shorter-lived, powerful warming agent.
  • "President Biden is really working hard on this matter," Gore said. "The question is whether we are moving fast enough and so far the answer is still no, we're making progress. We're gaining momentum. But the crisis is still getting worse significantly faster than we're mobilizing solutions."

Between the lines: At the Monday meeting, which a senior UN official said will allow leaders to have a "frank" discussion out of the view of cameras, the secretary-general will make clear his metrics for success in Glasgow and "raise the alarm" about gaps between summit goals and commitments so far.

  • The gathering, which a senior UN official said will allow leaders to participate in person and virtually, will make clear what the secretary-general considers to be the metrics for success in Glasgow.
  • These include new emissions reduction targets for 2030 consistent with getting to net zero by 2050, in order to limit warming to at or below 1.5°C (2.7°F) above preindustrial levels by 2100.
  • Guterres is also pressing industrialized nations to finally make good on a 2009 pledge to mobilize at least $100 billion annually to help developing nations combat global warming.
  • In addition, he is calling for more money for the hardest-hit, poorest nations to adapt to global warming impacts, and a rapid end to funding the construction of new coal-fired power plants.
  • “It will be a frank closed-door discussion where the secretary-general intends to raise the alarm. He will ask each country to be as ambitious as possible and to do something,” the senior UN official said, calling Glasgow a necessary "turning point" for climate action.

Our thought bubble... Beware the ghost of COPs past: Perhaps the most deflating UN climate confab of all-time took place in Copenhagen in 2009. Then, as now, there was a new U.S. president pressing reset on the climate button. There also was no U.S.-China blueprint.

  • Then, a global recession dominated the pre-summit agenda. Now, it’s a pandemic and related economic and political turmoil.
  • Then, the Danes were unprepared as hosts. Now, the British are hastily arranging for 20,000 delegates, leaders, activists and journalists to gather at an extraordinary time that is forcing them to devise plans to vaccinate many participants in need.

The bottom line: It’s time for climate advocates and world leaders alike to buckle up for a turbulent period of climate diplomacy.

Go deeper

Biden to meet with Pope Francis to discuss COVID and climate change

President Biden and Pope Francis meeting in 2016. Photo: Giuseppe Ciccia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

President Biden will meet with Pope Francis in Vatican City later this month, the White House said Thursday.

Why it matters: At the Oct. 29 meeting, the pair will discuss "ending the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling the climate crisis, and caring for the poor," according to the White House.

Facing existential threat from climate change, Pacific Islanders urge world to listen

Climate organizer Moñeka De Oro (left), Guam Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio and Micronesia Climate Change Alliance. Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Courtesy of MCCA and the University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability

Decades after Pacific Islanders first raised the alarm, the rest of the world is finally catching up: The climate crisis is here, and it's accelerating.

Why it matters: Pacific Islanders, whose nations face an existential threat from climate change, were a major force behind the Paris Agreement. Heading into November's UN climate summit, they are calling for greater urgency in meeting the goals of the accord, and more direct action from world leaders — especially President Biden.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 15, 2021 - Energy & Environment

White House vows to treat climate change as "systemic" financial risk

Zailey Segura, Zavery Segura and their mother Karen Smith wade through flood waters while walking to the childrens fathers house after Hurricane Nicholas landed in Galveston, Texas on September 14, 2021. Photo: Mark Felix for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

A new White House report released Friday morning says climate change poses "systemic risks" to the U.S. financial system, and presents a "roadmap" to building a "climate-resilient" economy.

Why it matters: Top aides emphasized that framing to promote wide-ranging moves that will weave climate risk into many agencies' new policies and regulations.