May 9, 2019

UN chief seeks to jolt climate ambition with warning of "catastrophe"

Ben Geman, author of Generate

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

Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.