Dec 9, 2018

UN climate summit stymied by U.S.-backed wording dispute

Protesters in Katowice, Poland, the host city of the UN climate conference. Photo: Sadak Souici/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

A UN climate summit in Poland was thrown into disarray this weekend after the U.S. joined Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in refusing to "welcome" a recent landmark UN report on climate change, reports AP.

Why it matters, per Axios science editor Andrew Freedman: In the climate talks, individual words can take on outsized importance. The United States' alignment with the countries is striking as it illustrates the extent to which the country has moved away from its leadership position on this issue, and is actually helping to slow progress in the talks.

Details: Nearly all of the 200 countries at the summit had wanted to "welcome" the UN report and make it a blueprint for future action.

  • None of the four countries, which are major oil producers, explicitly said what in the report they were opposed to. But AP reports that it could be over the call to phase out fossil-fuel use by 2050.
  • The impasse now threatens whether countries will be able to reach a global consensus by the summit's end on Friday, including the need to increase targets to curb carbon emissions.

Background: President Trump has disputed many mainstream climate science findings, including the UN report and one issued last month by his own administration.

  • The scientists in the UN report concluded that global warming will have far more severe consequences if temperatures are allowed to creep past 1.5°C, or 2.7°F, of warming. But they also pointed out current deadly impacts from the 1°C, or 1.8°F, of warming so far — including more severe and longer lasting heat waves.

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Top Trump ally sounds 2020 election alarm over coronavirus response

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

There is growing concern among top conservative leaders that the Trump administration isn't addressing the long-term economic impact of the coronavirus, several sources tell Axios. One top adviser said if the recovery is bungled it could cost President Trump the election.

What we're hearing: "The next 4-8 weeks is really going to decide whether Trump gets reelected," Stephen Moore, Trump's former nominee for the Federal Reserve board, told Axios. If the administration mishandles its economic recovery efforts, he said, Trump is "in big trouble."

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,600,427 — Total deaths: 95,506 — Total recoveries: 354,006Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 465,329 — Total deaths: 16,513 — Total recoveries: 25,410Map.
  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under a CDC public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  4. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — After another 6.6 million jobless claims, here's how to understand the scale of American job decimation.
  5. 2020 latest: Top conservative leaders are concerned the Trump administration isn't addressing the virus' long-term economic impact.
  6. States latest: FEMA has asked governors to decide if they want testing sites to be under state or federal control.
  7. World latest: Lockdowns have led to a decline in murders in some of the world's most violent countries — Boris Johnson is moved out of the ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus.
  8. In Congress: Senate in stalemate over additional funding for small business relief program.
  9. 1 SNL thing: "Saturday Night Live" will return this weekend in a remotely produced episode.
  10. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredPets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Federal court temporarily blocks coronavirus order against some abortions

Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Thursday that clinics in Texas can immediately offer medication abortions — a pregnancy termination method administered by pill — and can also provide the procedure to patients nearing the state's time limits for abortions.

Driving the news: The decision comes after federal appeals court ruled 2-1 on Tuesday in favor of an executive order by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that prohibits abortions during the coronavirus outbreak.

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