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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The scramble is intensifying to lay the groundwork for achieving tangible results at a key United Nations climate summit just seven weeks away.

Driving the news: UN Secretary-General António Guterres and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will convene a heads-of-state-level gathering Monday on the sidelines of the General Assembly.

  • The meeting "will address the gaps that remain on the actions urgently needed from national governments — especially the G20 — on mitigation, finance and adaptation," a UN advisory states.

Of note: Reuters reported Monday night that the U.S. and European Union are seeking to unveil a joint pledge to cut emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, by one-third by 2030.

  • The story calls it an effort to "galvanize other major economies" ahead of the November summit in Glasgow, Scotland. The White House did not confirm the Reuters story to Axios.

Why it matters: The reported methane deal and UN meeting are the latest signs of the diplomatic scramble ahead of a summit where success is not guaranteed.

  • U.S. special climate envoy John Kerry and Alok Sharma, the U.K.'s top climate diplomat, have both visited China — by far the world's largest emitter — this month for talks.
  • Kerry went to India, the world's third-largest greenhouse gas emitter after the U.S., this week. All eyes will also be on the G20 heads of state meeting in late October.

Threat level: The run-up to the summit, called COP26, has been rocky.

  • A G20 meeting in July ended without agreement on a phase-out in domestic coal-fired power generation or funding for such plants abroad by nations including China, the world's biggest coal user.
  • It's also not clear whether developed countries will make good on a longstanding pledge to mobilize $100 billion per year to help other nations fight climate change.

The big picture: The summit comes as global emissions are rebounding from the pandemic alongside the use of coal and oil.

  • The International Energy Agency projects that global oil demand will exceed pre-pandemic levels in the second half of next year, while OPEC yesterday estimated that 2022 demand will surpass 2019 on a full-year basis.

Yes, but: Despite the Biden administration's diplomatic efforts, the U.S. ability to make good on its own emissions-cutting pledges is unclear, with much of that left up to Congress.

Go deeper: Christian leaders appeal for action on climate change during upcoming summit

Go deeper

19 hours ago - World

"Quad" countries to discuss microchip supply chains during summit

President Biden (left) and U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (right) participate in a virtual meeting with leaders of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue countries March 12. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Biden, along with leaders from Japan, India and Australia, plan to work on building secure semiconductor supply chains when they gather for their first in-person summit in Washington this week, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Elevating the "Quad" countries is a key aspect of Biden's strategy for competing with China, Axios' Dave Lawler reports.

The Exvangelicals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Even as evangelicals maintain their position as the most popular religion in the U.S., a movement of self-described "exvangelicals" is breaking away, using social media to engage tens of thousands of former faithful.

The big picture: Donald Trump's presidency, as well as movements around LGBTQ rights, #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, drew more Americans into evangelical churches while also pushing some existing members away.

Updated 7 hours ago - Science

Huge wildfire reaches edge of Sequoia National Park

A plume of smoke and flames rise into the air as the fire burns towards Moro Rock during the KNP Complex fire in the Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California, on Saturday. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in Sequoia National Park were working into the night after two wildfires merged to reach the Giant Forest Saturday.

Why it matters: This forest contains over 2,000 giant sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree — the world's largest tree by volume. Park officials wrapped the redwoods in foil last week as the Paradise and Colony Fires, now known as the KNP Complex Fire, neared. Protection efforts appeared to be working overnight.