Tuesday's energy & environment stories

PG&E faces 33 criminal charges for 2019 wildfire

A vehicle burned out by the Kincade Fire in Geyserville, Calif. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A California prosecutor on Tuesday filed 33 criminal charges against Pacific Gas & Electric for the 2019 Kincade Fire, which injured six firefighters, destroyed hundreds of homes and forced nearly 200,000 people to evacuate.

Driving the news: Cal Fire concluded that the October 2019 fire was caused by a jumper cable on a PG&E transmission tower that broke due to high winds. PG&E on Tuesday acknowledged that its transmission line caused the fire, but the company did not agree that a crime was committed.

Apr 6, 2021 - Economy & Business

GM to build electric Chevy Silverado pickup in Detroit

2021 Chevrolet Silverado. An electric version is coming soon. Photo: GM

General Motors announced Tuesday it will introduce an electric version of its popular Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck that will be built at the company’s Factory ZERO assembly plant in Detroit.

Why it matters: GM is rapidly expanding its portfolio of battery-operated vehicles, with a plan to deliver more than 1 million EVs globally by 2025. It just unveiled the GMC Hummer electric SUV last weekend, joining the previously announced GMC Hummer electric pickup.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Apr 6, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Biden's climate balancing act with China

Data: Global Carbon Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

Partner? Rival? When it comes to China and climate policy, the White House answer to both questions seems to be yes.

Driving the news: The last few days underscore the delicate role that China is playing in White House climate efforts.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Apr 6, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Think tank launches climate news outlet powered by former Greentech Media staff

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The clean energy think tank RMI just launched a nonprofit journalism arm called Canary Media that's staffed by well-known names in energy and climate reporting.

The big picture: Canary will be "at the forefront of the clean energy transition" with a mission to cover global efforts to fight climate change, per RMI, formerly the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Australian scientists sound alarm over Paris climate goals

A car is seen half submerged in the flood on March 24, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. Photo by Flavio Brancaleone/Getty Images

The Australian Academy of Science quietly released a report on March 31 that underlines the stakes of President Biden’s April 22 climate summit and the next U.N. climate confab in Glasgow.

The big picture: The report, produced by Australia’s equivalent to the Royal Society of London, heaps doubt upon the feasibility of the Paris Agreement's target of limiting global warming to “well below” 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) compared to preindustrial levels by 2100.

Updated Apr 6, 2021 - World

New Zealand to open quarantine-free "travel bubble" with Australia

Australian Prime Minster Scott Morrison and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Sydney, Australia, in February last year. Photo: James D. Morgan/Getty Images

New Zealand will open a quarantine-free "travel bubble" with Australia from 11:59pm on April 18, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: New Zealand tourism industry official Chris Roberts and Michael Barnett, an NZ Chamber of Commerce director, told Axios the plan could serve as a model for other countries.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Apr 5, 2021 - Economy & Business

The electric vehicle sales surge

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Tesla's stock was up over 7% in premarket trading this morning after it reported record deliveries in the year's first quarter on Friday. But it's not the only manufacturer seeing sales increases this year.

Why it matters: Even as gasoline-powered sales return from the pandemic, cars with plugs are going faster, albeit from a much smaller base.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Apr 5, 2021 - Economy & Business

U.S. oil rig count climbs, signaling revival from pandemic lows

Expand chart
Data: Baker Hughes; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of U.S. oil drilling rigs in operation last week climbed by 13 to reach 337, Baker Hughes data shows.

Why it matters: It's the highest in nearly a year and, as Reuters notes, the increase was the largest since January 2020.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Apr 5, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Energy industry heavyweights boost carbon price lobbying

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

CEO Climate Dialogue, a two-year-old group that includes execs from giant energy and industrial companies, has brought on lobbying powerhouse Forbes-Tate.

Why it matters: The newly public filing highlights the increased K Street activity around pricing since President Biden's win opened the door for new climate legislation.

Column / Harder Line

In uneven economic recovery, climate action risks leaving some behind

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A year ago, almost all of us were grappling with the unknowns of the pandemic. Today, some of us are doing just fine, while others are still reeling.

Why it matters: This split-screen economy, called a K-shaped recovery, highlights the risk facing politicians, including President Biden, as they rally around bold climate action. If new climate laws aren’t inclusive of those less well off in America and around the world, they risk exacerbating inequality.