Sep 23, 2019

The big pledges from the UN climate summit

Chancellor Angela Merkel and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Photo: Kay Nietfeld/Getty Images

Today's UN summit and the past 2 days are bringing fresh pledges by countries and corporations as the UN warns that the world faces warming levels that vastly exceeds the Paris agreement targets.

Why it matters: Secretary-General António Guterres warned Monday, "Science tells us that on our current path, we face at least 3-degrees Celsius of global heating by the end of the century."

Where it stands: The 2015 Paris deal calls for holding eventual warming below 2°C and includes a more ambitious target of 1.5°C.

What they're saying: “The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win,” he said in a statement.

What's new: Here's a sampling of steps announced Monday and over the weekend:

  • The UN said "many" countries are using the summit to preview plans to update their Paris agreement pledges "with the aim to collectively reduce emissions by at least 45 percent by 2030."
  • Expansion of the 2-year-old "Powering Past Coal Alliance" of nations pledging to phase out coal and stop building new plants.
  • A bunch of huge multinationals — including L'Oréal, Nestle, Salesforce and Swiss Re — has signed onto a coalition of companies pledging to set targets "aligned" with 1.5°C and net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, a coalition of oil giants, rolled out plans Monday to bolster deployment of carbon capture systems.
  • "Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government on Friday agreed to support a $60 billion package of climate policies aimed at getting Germany back on track to meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030," NYT reports.

But, but, but: It'll be impossible to gauge the summit's efficacy for a long time. That's because the big question is how much the pledges translate into real policy implementation, financial flows and changes in corporate behavior.

Go deeper: UN press release on shifting the global response on the climate crisis.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 5,463,392 — Total deaths: 344,503 — Total recoveries — 2,195,325Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,653,904 — Total deaths: 97,948 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Italy reports lowest number of new coronavirus cases since February

Italy’s aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori fly over Milan in Duomo Square on May 25. Photo: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images

The Italian government reported 300 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, the lowest daily increase since Feb. 29.

Why it matters: Italy, the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown after emerging as a hotspot in March, appears to have finally weathered its coronavirus outbreak. Italy has reported nearly 33,000 total deaths, the third-highest total behind the U.S. and U.K.

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

Why it matters: Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning from his home during the coronavirus pandemic, ever since canceling a rally in Cleveland on March 10.