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Reproduced from DNV GL; Chart: Axios Visuals

More analysts are making the case that COVID-19 could be an inflection point for oil use and carbon emissions, but it's hardly one that puts the world on a sustainable ecological path.

Driving the news: The risk advisory firm DNV GL, citing the pandemic's long-term effects on energy consumption, projects in a new analysis that global CO2 emissions "most likely" peaked in 2019.

  • And, per Reuters, the firm also argues that the pandemic has accelerated the global oil demand peak by several years, which they now believe also occurred in 2019.
  • Separately, Bloomberg reports on a new Citigroup group analysis which finds: "Oil product demand growth will falter significantly, change its contours and never return to pre-COVID-19 rates of growth."

Why it matters: These new reports are the latest to take stock of the pandemic's unprecedented shock to the energy system and the lasting effects.

  • But it's also a reminder that the demand reduction and carbon emissions decline that's happening for tragic reasons is not even close to enough to hold warming significantly in check.

Threat level: "Even with peak emissions behind us, and flat energy demand through to 2050, the energy transition we forecast is still nowhere near fast enough to deliver the Paris ambition of keeping global warming well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels," the DNV GL analysis states.

  • "To reach 1.5-degree target, we would need to repeat the decline we’re experiencing in 2020 every year from now on."

The intrigue: The idea that either oil demand, carbon emissions, or both have peaked is nowhere near a consensus view among analysts and it's even a little contrarian. And needless to say, the number of variables is massive.

  • The climate scientist Zeke Hausfather sees the odds that emissions peaked last year at around 50-50, and notes that projections of a 2019 peak assume it would have happened anyway in the mid-2020s.

The bottom line: "[I]t's always important to emphasize that peaking emissions does not stop the world from continuing to warm," Hausfather, who is affiliated with the Breakthrough Institute and the research group Berkeley Earth, tells me via email.

  • "CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere, so to stop warming we need to get emissions down to net-zero. Peaking is just the first (and easiest) step on the long road to zero emissions," he said.

Go deeper: Coronavirus leaves experts pondering if the planet already hit peak oil demand

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 7, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Unpacking JPMorgan's new climate plan

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

JPMorgan Chase said late Tuesday that it will "align its financing activities" with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Why it matters: JPMorgan is the country's largest bank and, as the Wall Street Journal notes, holds "considerable sway in boardrooms around the globe." It's also the banking sector's largest financier of fossil fuels, per an analysis from several environmental groups of lending and underwriting.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
14 mins ago - Podcasts

Net neutrality on the line under Biden

Federal net neutrality rules are back on the table in the Biden administration, after being nixed by Trump, but now might be complicated by the debate over social media companies' behavior.

Axios Re:Cap digs into why net neutrality matters and what comes next with Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge and host of the Decoder podcast.

House grants waiver for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to lead Pentagon

Defense Secretary nominee Lloyd Austin Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted 326-78 on Thursday to grant retired Gen. Lloyd Austin a waiver to lead the Pentagon, clearing the way for the Senate to confirm President Biden's nominee for defense secretary as early as this week.

Why it matters: Austin's nomination received pushback from some lawmakers, including Democrats, who cited a law that requires officers be out of the military for at least seven years before taking the job — a statute intended to reinforce the tradition of civilian control of the Pentagon.