Jun 4, 2018

The global battle over coal's future

Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

"Institutional investors with $26 trillion in assets under management called on Group of Seven leaders on Monday to phase out the use of coal in power generation to help limit climate change, despite strong opposition from Washington," per Reuters.

ICYMI: The big domestic development since our last edition was the White House ordering DOE on Friday to "prepare immediate steps" to prevent the closure of economically struggling coal-fired and nuclear power plants.

The context: The statement arrived after emergence of an internal memo revealing that DOE might attempt to mandate a two-year program under which grid managers must purchase power or power capacity from these facilities.

  • Why it matters: The White House statement is the strongest sign yet that the Trump administration is readying an aggressive intervention in power markets — one sure to draw heavy legal and political pushback.
  • Shade: "It is simply absurd that the Trump administration is contemplating using Cold War-era provisions to bail out unprofitable power plants in the name of security, particularly as its own Energy Department and FERC see little evidence of an emergency," writes Bloomberg columnist Liam Denning.
  • More: The NYT has a good rundown of the proposal and the reaction.

Go deeper

The new oil-cutting pact will help the market but hardly rescue it

The new OPEC-Russia agreement to steeply cut production should help the oil market avoid a complete meltdown, but it's nowhere near enough to undo the damage from the COVID-19 pandemic, analysts say.

Why it matters: It's the first major coordinated response to the pandemic that's creating an unprecedented collapse in global oil demand and has pushed prices to very low levels.

Premier League players launch fund to help U.K. medical workers

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Premier League players have launched an initiative called #PlayersTogether, which will funnel part of their salaries to the National Health Service to support the U.K.'s front-line workers during the coronavirus crisis.

Why it matters: This decision came at the conclusion of a protracted argument between players, clubs and even government officials over who should bear the brunt of lost revenue in the midst of the pandemic.

GOP worries Trump has only weeks to sharpen coronavirus response

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republicans are increasingly concerned not only about President Trump’s daily briefings but also his broader plan to ease the nation out of the virus crisis and back to work. This concern is acute — and spreading. 

Why it matters: Trump can easily address the briefing worries by doing fewer, but the lackluster bounce-back planning is what worries Republicans most.