Energy & Environment

Why it matters: Ominous forecasts about the impact of climate change serve as the backdrop for the world — led by U.S. lawmakers and companies — to debate big action on the problem, which could upend energy systems and our way of life.

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The ransomware pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

"We are on the cusp of a global pandemic," said Christopher Krebs, the first director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, in Congressional testimony last week. The virus causing the pandemic isn't biological, however. It's software.

Why it matters: Crippling a major U.S. oil pipeline this weekend initially looked like an act of war — but it's now looking like an increasingly normal crime, bought off-the-shelf from a "ransomware as a service" provider known as DarkSide.

Satellites are ushering in a new era of environmental accountability

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Satellites gazing down at Earth from orbit are helping hold governments and corporations accountable for their environmental impacts.

Why it matters: Environmental agreements are hard to enforce without independently verified data. But satellites — with advances in computing — can help monitor deforestation, illegal fishing, pollution and other environmental problems with ease, helping to measure whether governments are hitting their targets.

Exclusive: New project tracks natural gas flaring using space data

An image of Earth by night as seen by the Suomi NPP satellite in 2012. Photo: NASA Earth Observatory

A new project uses satellite data to track the flares from companies burning off excess natural gas.

Why it matters: Flaring releases carbon dioxide and some methane into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming and making it essential for regulators to keep close tabs on the activity.

California governor declares drought emergency in most counties

A sign in April on the outskirts of Buttonwillow in California's Kern County, one of the top agriculture producing counties in the San Joaquin Valley, after historically low winter rainfall. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) extended a drought emergency declaration to cover 41 of the state's 58 counties on Monday.

Why it matters: Most of California and the American West are experiencing an "extreme" or "exceptional" drought, per the U.S. Drought Monitor. Newsom and other officials are concerned California could experience a repeat of the catastrophic 2020 wildfire season.

America’s gas “jugular” gets attacked

The Colonial Pipeline provides around 45% of the fuel used between Florida and Maine, transporting over 100 million gallons per day. But over the weekend, a ransomware attack caused the entire pipeline to shut down.

Axios Re:cap digs into what we know about this attack, what it tells us about U.S. energy vulnerability, and what it means for transportation in the short term with energy expert Amy Myers Jaffe.

Updated 18 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Colonial Pipeline aims to be "substantially" back online by end of week

Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The FBI confirmed in a statement Monday that a professional cybercriminal group called DarkSide was responsible for a ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline network, which provides roughly 45% of the fuel used on the East Coast.

The latest: President Biden said at a press briefing that there is no evidence so far to indicate that Russia was involved in the attack, although he plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin soon. Officials previously said no countries are being blamed for the attack.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
21 hours ago - Energy & Environment

What to know about the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Colonial Pipeline, a huge network that supplies eastern states with gasoline, diesel and other products, is shut down thanks to a major ransomware attack disclosed over the weekend.

Why it matters: Colonial is the largest refined products pipeline network in the country, transporting over 100 million gallons per day.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
21 hours ago - Energy & Environment

The newest federal climate officials

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. International Development Finance Corp. (DFC) on Monday announced its first "chief climate officer" and his deputy as the development bank looks to use billions in financing tools to help combat global warming.

Driving the news: The chief climate officer is Jake Levine, an energy and climate expert who arrives via the law firm Covington & Burling.

Emergency declaration issued in 17 states and D.C. over fuel pipeline cyberattack

Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration said it's "working with" fuel pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline to try and restart operations after a ransomware attack took it offline.

Why it matters: Friday night's cyberattack is "the most significant, successful attack on energy infrastructure" known to have occurred in the U.S., notes energy researcher Amy Myers Jaffe, per Politico.

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