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Photo credits, clockwise from top left: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images; Amy Harder/Axios; Stephanie Keith/Getty Images; Viewpress

Dueling plotlines dominated the UN climate summit: Newly revealed ambition from countries and companies, and palpable anguish — distilled in teen activist Greta Thunberg's speech — that it's not nearly enough.

The big picture: The summit brought a burst of new commitments and initiatives. These include dozens of nations pledging to strengthen their plans under the Paris deal, new commitments to the multilateral Green Climate Fund, and asset managers committing to carbon neutral portfolios by 2050.

  • Reuters has a tally here, and the UN's summary is here.

But, but, but: Several of the world's largest nations either did not bring new pledges — including China, by far the world's largest carbon emitter — or didn't go as far as advocates hoped.

  • The Union of Concerned Scientists' Alden Meyer accused most large nations of "dodging their responsibility to step up action as is essential to address the climate emergency we now face."
  • "Advocates and diplomats who have been following climate talks for years said they were disappointed," the New York Times reports.

Of note: At midnight, President Trump mocked Thunberg in a tweet that puts a highlighter pen over the split between the U.S. government — which offered no pledges — and advocates.

The intrigue: The chasm between the summit and advocates' goals was apparent when Big Oil CEOs defended their strategies at a rare, invite-only forum on the event's sidelines.

Driving the news: The CEOs of ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron and others gathered under the umbrella of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, an industry group investing in emissions-cutting tech. 

  • A common theme at the nearly 3-hour event: Tackling climate change is more complicated and slower than the urgent message radiating from activists and world leaders nearby at UN headquarters.
  • Exxon CEO Darren Woods typified the industry's steady-as-she-goes view of energy transition that activists call wholly at odds with the seismic changes needed. “I don’t see [the transition] as a threat,” Woods said. “It’s an evolution of the industry."

Between the lines: The execs largely agreed natural gas will play a key role for decades to come, which is increasingly at odds with what climate scientists say is needed to aggressively curb emissions.

  • “It’s likely to play an even larger role in the future,” Chevron CEO Michael Wirth said. “For the foreseeable future the realistic scalable and affordable way to build out a reliable grid growing renewable power is likely to be with natural gas.”

Go deeper ... Greta Thunberg to world leaders: "You are failing us" on climate change

Go deeper

House Judiciary Committee advances reparations bill in historic vote

Sheila Jackson Lee. Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee voted 25 to 17 Wednesday to advance a bill that would create a commission to study reparations for Black Americans who are the descendants of slaves.

Why it matters: "No such bill has ever come this far during Congressional history of the United States," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), who sponsored the bill, per the Washington Post.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Officer Kim Potter arrested, charged with manslaughter in Daunte Wright's death

Kim Potter's booking photos. Photo: Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

Kim Potter, the former police officer charged with second-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, was released on a $100,000 bond on Wednesday, Hennepin County jail records show.

Why it matters: Sunday's shooting of the 20-year-old Black man in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, just 10 miles from where George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer last year, has reinvigorated Black Lives Matter protests and led to three consecutive nights of unrest.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden names Erika Moritsugu as senior AAPI liaison

Erika Moritsugu. Photo courtesy: National Partnership for Women & Families

President Biden has named Erika Moritsugu as deputy assistant to the president and Asian American and Pacific Islander senior liaison, the White House announced Wednesday.

Driving the news: The decision follows weeks of pressure from AAPI leaders to include more Asian American representation at the Cabinet level and in senior administration roles.