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Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

A delegation for the Biden administration "discussed the climate crisis" with Chinese counterparts during talks in Alaska this week, but the two sides did not form a working group on the issue, contrary to a Chinese media report, a State Department spokesperson tells Axios.

Driving the news: The report followed the first face-to-face diplomatic meetings between officials from the U.S. and China since the start of Joe Biden's presidency. The talks indicated Biden does not "plan to wholly abandon the Trump administration’s tough tone in discussions with Beijing" writes NBC News.

What they're saying: "More broadly, we know the climate challenge does not get successfully addressed without significant additional action by China," the spokesperson told Axios. "China represents almost 30 percent of global emissions, in addition to its carbon-intensive investments abroad."

  • The spokesperson called Chinese President Xi's promise to achieve net zero emissions before 2060 "a significant step forward," but added that China needs to do more to reach Paris Agreement goals.
  • "We will continue to engage China and other key countries as we move forward to address the climate crisis.  All countries must raise their ambitions as we move toward COP26 in Glasgow," the spokesperson said.

Flashback: U.S. Climate envoy John Kerry in January said that the U.S. must deal with China on climate change as a "critical standalone issue," but that the Biden administration will not stop confronting Beijing on human rights and trade abuses.

Go deeper: Democrats see China as a test for Republicans

Go deeper

At least 3 dead after Amtrak train derails in Montana

Photo: Jacob Cordeiro/Twitter

An Amtrak train derailed near Joplin, Montana, resulting in at least three deaths and multiple injuries on Saturday, per a Liberty County Sheriff's Office statement to media outlets.

The big picture: Some 147 passengers and 13 crew were aboard the Empire Builder train, which runs from Seattle to Chicago, when seven cars derailed about 4p.m., Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods said in an emailed statement. The National Transportation Safety Board said it's investigating the derailment.

Updated 12 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in Brooklyn on Sept. 13. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

A federal appeals court is set to hear a challenge Wednesday to a vaccine mandate planned for New York City school employees.

Why it matters The vaccine mandate was set to begin on Monday, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the nation's largest school system. But a judge on Friday temporarily blocked the measure, per AP.

New York prepares for staff shortages from health vaccine mandate

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul during a news conference Tuesday in New York City.. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced Saturday she would declare a state of emergency if there were health worker shortages due to New York's upcoming COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Why it matters: Hochul moved to reassure concerns of staffing shortages in the health care sector in a statement that also outlined plans to call in medically trained National Guard members, workers from outside New York and retirees if necessary when the mandate takes effect Monday.