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A view of Equinor headquarters. Photo: Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Equinor on Monday named company veteran Anders Opedal to replace CEO Eldar Sætre this fall and vowed to accelerate its diversification into climate-friendly energy.

Why it matters: The Norway-based company is among the world's largest multinational oil-and-gas companies — though smaller than super-majors like Exxon, Shell and BP.

  • The announcement comes as a bunch European-based giants are vowing to speed up their push into areas like solar power and electric-vehicle charging.
  • However, fossil fuels remain their dominant business lines and still account for the vast majority of their investments.

Where it stands: Sætre, 64, is retiring after 40 years with the company and six as CEO. He signaled months ago that he planned to step down, Equinor said.

  • His tenure included changing the company name from Statoil to Equinor to reflect its diversification efforts and a series of climate pledges.
  • Equinor vowed in February to cut carbon intensity (emissions per unit of output) by at least 50% by 2050 — a plan that includes emissions from use of its fuels in the economy.

What's next: Opedal is slated to take over in November. He's been the company's executive VP for technology, projects and drilling since 2018 and joined Equinor as an engineer in 1997.

What we're watching: Whether Opedal will quickly look to roll out new pledges and/or more details on the company's plans to speed up its renewables push.

  • In a statement, he vowed to work with colleagues to "accelerate the development of Equinor as a broad energy company and our growth within renewables."
  • Equinor's current plan, announced earlier this year, calls for expanding its renewables portfolio to reach up to 6 gigawatts by 2026 — a tenfold rise — and up to 16 gigwatts by 2035.

Go deeper

Sunrun CEO: Transition to renewables will happen "independently" of politics

Sunrun CEO Lynn Jurich said at an Axios virtual event on Wednesday that the transition to renewable energy from fossil fuels is "going to happen independently of any political regime," but that a potential Joe Biden presidency could help the U.S. make the transition faster.

Why it matters: The Trump administration has attempted to undermine the scientific consensus of climate change and promote fossil fuels. But Jurich says that technology and cost drivers have still created momentum toward a renewable transition.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
22 mins ago - Health

Experts fear a bad flu season on top of COVID

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Public health officials are warning that the U.S. may be on the verge of a dangerous double whammy: COVID and flu, spreading simultaneously.

The big picture: The Delta variant is still circulating across the U.S., and the Omicron variant isn't far behind. On top of that, experts see potential warning signs of a bad flu season, which could leave millions of Americans vulnerable and strain health care resources.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Australia joins U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Australia is joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of human rights abuses committed by China's government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: After the Biden administration's announcement that U.S. officials won't attend the Games due to the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, Morrison said at a Sydney briefing that Australia would follow suit as "it's the right thing to do."