Oct 23, 2019

Chris Coons and Mike Braun launch bipartisan Senate climate change caucus

Sen. Chris Coons. Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons (Del.) and Republican Sen. Mike Braun (Ind.) are launching the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus aimed at fostering bipartisan cooperation on climate change.

The big picture: Coons, in remarks to NBC News, laid out some areas of potential cooperation. "Bipartisan ideas already exist — from improving energy efficiency and investing in R&D to supporting energy security and workforce development," he said.

Driving the news: The Washington Examiner writes that Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will join the effort.

Quick take: The formation comes on the heels of a fresh reminder that while modest agreements may be possible, Democrats face massive hurdles if they seek to advance sweeping legislation to sharply cut emissions.

  • Last week Democrats fell far short in their effort to thwart the EPA's decision to scrap Obama-era carbon emissions regulations for power plants — a vote that saw three conservative Democrats vote with the GOP.

What they're saying: "The Democratic defections underscore our view that even if Democrats take the Senate and White House in 2020, the need for moderate support within their caucus will force them to temper their most aggressive environmental policy ambitions to have any chance at passage," Rapidan Energy Group said in a note last week.

Go deeper

The state of U.S. energy-related carbon emissions

Data: U.S. Energy Information Administration; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. carbon emissions from energy rose by 2.7% last year, ending several years of declines, federal Energy Information Administration data confirms.

Why it matters: While emissions have been in a generally downward trend for well over a decade, the report late last week shows how the U.S. is off track to meet its pledges under the Paris climate deal.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019

Global energy efficiency gains are slowing

Adapted from IEA's Energy Efficiency 2019 report; Chart: Axios Visuals

New International Energy Agency data out Monday shows just paltry advances in global energy efficiency last year.

What they found: Primary energy intensity — that is, amount of energy needed per unit of GDP — improved by just 1.2% in 2018. That's the third consecutive year of declining gains and the slowest improvement since 2010, the agency said.

Go deeperArrowNov 5, 2019

Transportation emissions are a tough nut to crack

Reproduced from the Department of Energy; Chart: Axios Visuals

Using carbon pricing to cut transportation emissions could be tough, and some Energy Department data from this week helps to explain why.

Driving the news: The latest entry from the Vehicle Technologies Office's handy "transportation fact of the week" series compares a decade of changes in U.S. gasoline prices to vehicle miles traveled.

Go deeperArrowNov 15, 2019