Thursday's energy & environment stories

In photos: Thousands of homes destroyed after Michigan floods

A man walks across West Saginaw Road in Sanford, Michigan, on May 21. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of homes are flooded and destroyed in central Michigan in the aftermath of two dams breaching in Midland County on Tuesday.

The big picture: Michigan is one of few states in the country that has not yet fully reopened amid the coronavirus pandemic — it is set to reopen May 29. But in the midst of trying to keep people socially distanced to fight the spread of the virus, over 10,000 people were forced to evacuate amid the flooding.

Signs emerge of the EU's climate-friendly coronavirus response

Photo: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Information is coming out about how European nations hope to use economic stimulus packages to bolster deployment of climate-friendly energy sources.

Why it matters: The UN, International Energy Agency, International Monetary Fund and others want governments to use big pandemic response plans to help accelerate the global energy transition.

Coronavirus is reshaping urban mobility

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The coronavirus pandemic is remaking city landscapes worldwide, and the ultimate scope and duration of the changes will influence the future of urban mobility, pollution and even global oil demand.

Driving the news: Many cities are changing street uses and restricting cars (to varying degrees) to create new and socially distant opportunities for pedestrians, cyclists and diners.

Tesla drops lawsuit over California factory reopening

Elon Musk. Photo: Win McNamee / Staff

Tesla on Wednesday abandoned its federal lawsuit against Alameda County, California, over pandemic-related restrictions on business operations that affected its factory in Fremont.

Details: Tesla did not provide immediate comment. But the case filed May 9 appears to be a fait accompli at this point.

Coronavirus pandemic is making the U.S. a petro-state for now

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The history of low oil prices juicing the U.S. economy was broken during the pandemic-fueled price collapse, Dallas Fed economists argue in a new commentary.

Why it matters: "[O]n balance this oil price decline has weakened rather than strengthened the U.S. economy, making this event different from past episodes of falling oil prices," they write.

Renewable energy will show "resilience" to coronavirus pandemic

Reproduced from IEA; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus pandemic is slowing growth of wind and solar electricity projects, but the renewables sector is "more resilient than other fuels" and slated to bounce back quickly, the International Energy Agency said.

Why it matters: It's on track to be the first year-over-year decline in 20 years, IEA said in a report that offers their downward revision in expected 2020–2021 capacity growth.