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UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Photo: Parker Song - Pool/Getty Images

UNs Secretary-General António Guterres is trying to rev up global efforts to achieve climate goals that are slipping out of reach.

Driving the news: In a new interview with AP, he warns of a "catastrophic situation for the whole world" as he prepares to tour Pacific islands facing existential threats from rising seas.

The big picture: Guterres offers big goals ahead of the climate summit he's convening in September, including no new coal-fired power plants built after 2020 and ending fossil fuel subsidies.

  • He's not giving up on achieving net-zero global emissions by 2050 (that is, a mix of emissions cuts and systems that remove atmospheric CO2).

Between the lines: The coal target won't happen, and subsidies are a long-term project. They totaled over $300 billion in 2017 (and that doesn't even count production subsidies).

  • But by offering aggressive goals, it appears Guterres wants to reset the conversation around ambition to limit temperature rise to 1.5⁰C.
  • That Hail Mary target would require extraordinarily sharp cuts in years and decades ahead, yet emissions are still rising.

The bottom line: "It is achievable, but it needs a transformational approach," he tells AP, citing huge shifts needed in power, transport, industry, and agriculture.

Go deeper: UN details massive changes needed to slow global warming

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
13 mins ago - Health

Falling sperm counts could threaten the human race

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new book makes the case that sperm counts have been falling for decades — and a major reason is chemicals in the environment that disrupt the body's hormonal system.

Why it matters: The ability to reproduce is fundamental to the viable future of any living thing. If certain chemicals are damaging our fertility over the long term, human beings could end up as an endangered species.

2 hours ago - Health

Black churches become vaccine hubs

A woman arrives at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic outside the Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church in southeast D.C. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Black pastors have a new job on their plates during COVID-19: encouraging skeptical congregants to get vaccinated.

Why it matters: “There’s distrust in our community. We can’t ignore that,” Rev. James Coleman of D.C.'s All Nations Baptist told AP.

Biden names USPS board of governors nominees, as Democrats put pressure on DeJoy

United States Postal Service Postmaster General Louis DeJoy at a Feb. 24 committee hearing. Photo: Graeme Jennings/pool/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday nominated a former postal union lawyer, a vote-by-mail advocate, and a former deputy postmaster general to sit on the Postal Services' Board of Governors.

Why it matters: The nominations, which require Senate confirmation, come as some Democrats call for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's ouster and others push for Biden to nominate board members to name a new postmaster general.