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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The onslaught of energy infrastructure news over the last 72 hours highlights the gains of activists pushing to block fossil fuel projects — and why efforts to curb supply are a small piece of the climate puzzle.

Catch up fast: Over the last three days...

  • Dominion Energy and Duke Energy scrapped plans for a big gas pipeline.
  • Dominion Energy sold its gas transmission and storage assets to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Energy.
  • A federal judge ordered the shut down of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
  • The Supreme Court declined, for now, to allow Keystone XL pipeline construction.

Why it matters: The burst of news underscores why tackling climate change will require far more than thwarting development.

  • It's why big policy proposals, like former Vice President Joe Biden's plan or the recent proposal from House Democrats, are such a grab bag of policies.
  • They encompass some supply restrictions — such as thwarting new oil-and-gas development on public lands — coupled with lots of provisions on efficiency, vehicle electrification, decarbonizing industrial sectors, and a lot more.

Yes, but: There’s an important point in a new note about Dakota Access from the research arm of the investment bank UBS, which shows why climate advocates, even the "keep it in the ground" wing, know that wider-ranging policy is essential.

  • Halting the pipeline raises shipping costs for oil producers in the Bakken region, but will bring "positive market share benefit to other oil producing basins" in Texas, Canada and elsewhere, UBS notes.
  • In other words, yanking Dakota Access offline (if challenges to the decision fail) may change where some oil production ultimately happens — but not if.

In the same vein, Moody's analysts, in a new note, say that selling its gas assets will help Dominion meet its climate change goals.

  • "It will immediately reduce the company’s carbon and methane exposure," they write.
  • But, needless to say, that does not affect overall use of the fuels on its own. It just means the assets are changing hands.

My thought bubble: It's an obvious point, but one worth making in the great pipeline freakout of July 2020.

Go deeper: Hear more about this on this morning's "Axios Today" podcast. Listen here.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 15, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Pondering a new shale powerhouse

Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Shares of Concho Resources jumped yesterday on the heels of a Bloomberg report that ConocoPhillips might acquire the company.

Why it matters: The deal, if it happens, will be another sign that the pandemic-fueled industry downturn could bring new consolidation to the U.S. sector. Or maybe not.

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Oct 15, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Inside BP’s nascent lobbying efforts on state climate policies

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

BP is dipping into its deep pocketbooks to help state-level climate proposals around the country.

Why it matters: Oil companies — European ones especially — have said in recent years they support climate policy, but there hasn't been much action behind the rhetoric. The fact that real lobbying efforts are underway suggests change is really afoot.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 15, 2020 - Technology

Google nabs Energy Department cloud contract

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Google Cloud announced Thursday a five-year agreement with the Energy Department to provide the agency with access to a "broad range" of cloud technologies.

Why it matters: The Energy Department has a vast research arm and needs highly sophisticated and powerful computing. Google said the tech will enable a wide range of "use cases."