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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

UN: Africa's glaciers to disappear by 2040s from climate change

Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania partially covered by clouds in December 2009. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Glaciers capping three of Africa's iconic mountains — Mount Kenya in Kenya, the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania — will likely disappear over the next two decades because of human-induced climate change, the World Meteorological Organization's estimated in a new report Tuesday.

Why it matters: The WMO warned that glacier loss is just one effect climate change will have on the continent, as rising temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, rising sea levels and more extreme weather will also likely exacerbate food insecurity, economic and political instability and population displacement.

The China whisperer

Nick Burns. Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee for ambassador to China will face aggressive questioning Wednesday about the most important, and potentially perilous, bilateral relationship in the world.

Why it matters: While Nick Burns is an experienced diplomat with support on both sides of the aisle, lawmakers want to use his confirmation hearing to force the administration into some tough positions on China.

Trump says he plans to launch new social media network in 2022

Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump on Wednesday announced plans to launch a social media network called "Truth Social," and that it would go public via a SPAC.

Why it matters: Most ex-presidents are focused on their legacies, by creating presidential libraries or engaging in philanthropic endeavors. Trump, however, remains consumed by social media.