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Happy Friday! It's the end of the beginning for Generate as we finish week two of the newsletter. Thanks so much for reading. Your tips and feedback are always welcome at And a reminder that you can sign up for all the Axios newsletters, including our cool new tech newsletter Login, by clicking here. Ok, onward . . .

Breaking Friday morning: new global CO2 data


The International Energy Agency has just reported that 2016 global carbon emissions from energy were flat for the third year in a row.

Why it matters: The Paris-based agency calls the latest findings more evidence of the "decoupling" of emissions from global economic growth. IEA executive director Fatih Birol calls it a "cause for optimism" but warns it's too soon to say emissions have peaked.

The IEA findings note that the world still isn't on track to keep the global temperature increase less than 2°C above preindustrial levels, the goal of the Paris climate accord.

The details: U.S. carbon emissions fell 3% thanks to gas and renewables' ongoing displacement of coal in power production. The country's CO2 output is at its lowest level since 1992. Emissions in China, the world's biggest CO2 source, fell by 1% even as the economy grew by 6.7%, IEA said. Renewables, nuclear and gas have an increasing share of electricity generation, and efforts to clean up China's polluted air are driving a shift from coal to gas at industrial plants and buildings, the agency said.

Snapshot from the budget brushoff

That was quick: There are already plenty of signs that Republican lawmakers won't get behind proposals to end or deeply cut energy and environmental programs in the White House budget plan. Thursday brought a slew of super-noncommittal and even critical statements from senior Republicans on the spending committees and elsewhere. Trump's proposed EPA cuts are huge and some of these non-climate EPA and energy programs he attacks are popular with both parties.

Why it matters: Yes, plenty of Republicans dislike climate initiatives and you'll also find backing to trim green energy R&D, but overall it's clear that lawmakers see Trump's proposal as a political wish list, not a guide. For instance, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski chairs the Appropriations subcommittee that writes EPA's budget, and she also leads the Energy Committee. She flatly said she "cannot support" many of the proposed cuts.

To be sure: There's indeed some alignment between Trump and congressional Republicans. Kentucky Rep. Hal Rogers, chairman of the spending subcommittee that handles the State Department, was bullish on going after State's international climate funding, which Trump wants to kill outright. "I have not been too happy with those programs," said the coal industry ally.

ARPA-E’s Republican defenders

One more budget item: it's highly unlikely that Trump will succeed in his plan to kill the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, a popular Energy Department program to fund development of breakthrough tech.

  • "I think it has been an effective program and I think they do a good job. Is it something we ought to be funding? That will be a debate we have," GOP Rep. Mike Simpson, head of the Appropriations subcommittee on DOE's budget, told reporters in the Capitol.
Rep. Fred Upton, a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said the program has done "good things."

Drillers are throwing more cash around


There's more data to back up the optimistic vibe coming from oil producers these days. The prominent consulting firm Wood Mackenzie sifted through the capital spending plans of 119 companies, and 99 of them plan to boost their exploration and production investments in 2017.

Why it matters: The new findings underscore how the oil price recovery is driving new economic activity, especially in the U.S. Overall, the companies plan to spend a combined $25 billion more in 2017 than last year, an 11 percent rise.

Things look even brighter in the U.S. shale patch: "Those companies focused on the U.S. have booked the largest increase in planned spending, with budgets set to rise 60% year-on-year, accounting for $15 billion of additional investment."

The non-climate case for sticking with Paris

A short new paper is making a Trump-centric case for keeping the U.S in Paris climate change accord. Via the Center for Strategic & International Studies, Paul Bodnar's note called "An America First Climate Policy" (see what he did there?) argues that even if you don't care about climate change, there are plenty of reasons to stay involved.

The basic pitch: "Burning valuable political capital and risking a climate-related trade war seems especially unnecessary when you consider the simple, low-key requirements associated with staying in the agreement," writes Bodnar, a National Security Council energy aide under Obama.

Lowballing oil demand

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting piece that explores how forecasts of the world's oil thirst are consistently revised upward.

  • "The International Energy Agency's closely watched annual estimates of global crude demand have been revised up for the past seven years by an average of 880,000 barrels a day, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis," the paper reports.
The small differences can matter for prices, even in the nearly 100 million barrel daily global oil market. Per WSJ: "The oversupply that has pressured oil prices for almost three years was estimated at around 1% to 2% of the market in 2016."

Update on the GOP climate resolution

On Thursday I caught up with GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo, the lead sponsor of the GOP resolution calling for action on climate change that so far has just 16 co-sponsors (we wrote about this upstream swim here).

  • More to come: Curbelo, at the Capitol, said the sponsor list will "very likely" grow quite soon. "We have many colleagues who have contacted us, they are interested, they want to learn more, they want to figure out how they can be a part of this."
  • Hoping to engage leadership—eventually: "The stronger we get, the more attention we are going to be getting from leadership, and from others. … There will be a time to have a concrete discussion with them on how we can advance some policy solutions."

Friday brings the first in-person meeting between President Trump and German chancellor Angela Merkel, who has said she wants to chat about climate change with Trump. And look for more energy coverage in the Axios stream. Generate returns Monday. Have a great weekend.


Trump trade adviser circulated docs linking manufacturing declines to abortion, spousal abuse

Peter Navarro. Photo: Andrew Harnik / AP

Peter Navarro, President Trump's top adviser on trade policy, circulated two diagrams internally claiming without evidence that decreased manufacturing is causing divorce, spousal abuse, increased abortion rates, increased drug use and more, according to the Washington Post, which obtained the documents.

Why it matters: President Trump and Navarro are aligned on trade, both contending that broad agreements like NAFTA are killing U.S. manufacturing. Two White House officials told the Post of concerns that "such unverified information could end up steering White House policy."

Go deeper: The art of the deal-breaker.


White House weighs in on Niger deaths, travel ban ruling

Trump at a Rose Garden press conference Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Carolyn Kaster / AP

President Trump called the families of the four U.S. service members killed in action in Niger to offer condolences, Press Secretary Sanders said Tuesday evening. Trump was questioned about his public silence on the deaths yesterday, and falsely claimed his predecessors had declined to call families of those killed.

The White House also released a statement calling a Hawaii federal judge's block on Trump's revised travel ban a "dangerously flawed" decision. The Justice Department will "vigorously defend" the ban, the White House said.

Meanwhile, Trump sent out two afternoon Twitter attacks — one aimed at the media and the other aimed at Democrats in Congress.


McCain says he'll support bipartisan health care plan

McCain speaks after he received the Liberty Medal from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Photo: Matt Rourke / AP

Sen. John McCain, whose opposition sunk an earlier Republican health care proposal, said Tuesday night that he looks "forward to supporting" the bipartisan plan put forward by Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray. McCain added that he hopes the plan is "a sign of increased bipartisanship moving forward."

President Trump has called it a "good short term solution" and Chuck Schumer has said most Democrats are supportive. House conservatives, meanwhile, are more skeptical.

Go deeper: The details of the plan.


Mueller's team interviewed Sean Spicer Monday

Spicer resigned as Press Secretary over the summer. Photo: Alex Brandon / AP

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was interviewed Monday by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team, Politico reports. Spicer fielded questions on the firing of James Comey and Trump's meetings with Russians, including his Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, per Politico, in a meeting that lasted "much of the day."

The big picture: Mueller's investigation has reached people who were in the room when Trump made key decisions and statements that are now under scrutiny.

Go deeper: Spicer kept notebooks detailing goings-on at the White House; Mueller wants to speak with six Trump aides


Close Putin ally linked to Russia's fake news factory

Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev / AP

The Russian "troll factory" that spread misinformation during the 2016 U.S. election, the Internet Research Agency (IRA), was funded by a close ally of Vladimir Putin's, according to a CNN report. The oligarch, Yevgeny Prigozhin, is nicknamed "Putin's Chef." His business, Concord Management and Consulting, had a contact drawn up with IRA in 2013 for 20 million rubles ($650,000).

Why it matters: This is further evidence that election meddling efforts reached into Putin's inner circle.


EPA loosens radiation safety standards

Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

The Environmental Protection Agency has labeled levels of radiation 10x greater than those considered acceptable under the Obama administration as not harmful to people's health, according to a Bloomberg report. The EPA sets such regulations in case of nuclear meltdowns or other events that expose the public to radiation.

  • EPA spokesman Michael Abboud said: "EPA has not changed its standards regarding radiation exposure, and no protective guidelines were changed during this administration...The guidance was released on January 11, 2017 -- before the President was inaugurated." Bloomberg said an FAQ on the decision was released last month.
  • Jeff Ruch, executive director of the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, told Bloomberg: "This appears to be another case of the Pruitt EPA proclaiming conclusions exactly opposite...of scientific research."

Facebook's head of experimental hardware is leaving

Regina Dugan is leaving Facebook. Photo: Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images

The head of Facebook's skunkworks division Building 8 will leave the company. Regina Dugan said in a statement given to Recode that there's "is a tidal shift going on in Silicon Valley, and those of us in this industry have greater responsibilities than ever before" and that the "time feels right" to be "thoughtful about new ways to contribute in times of disruption." She said in a different post that she will be in charge of a "new endeavour."

Why it matters: Dugan arrived at Facebook last year to lead a division tasked with projects like building a way to type with your mind. Her departure comes as the company faces enormous pressure over its role in an increasingly unequal and divided society.


Magic Leap confirms $502 million fundraise

Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz
Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for Wired

Magic Leap, the secretive "mixed reality" startup, announced on Tuesday that it has raised $502 million in new venture capital funding led by Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek. This is the same round that Axios discussed last week, based on a Delaware regulatory filing (which authorized up to $1 billion in new shares at an increased valuation). The post-money valuation appears to be around $5 billion.

Bottom line: Investors clearly keep seeing something they like in Magic Leap, but consumers are still waiting for the Florida-based company's first product to debut.

Cap table: In addition to Temasek, other new Magic Leap investors include EDBI (Singapore), Grupo Globo (Brazil) and Janus Henderson Investors. Return backers include Alibaba Group, Fidelity Management and Research Company, Google, J.P. Morgan Investment Management, and T. Rowe Price.

Related: A pair of former Magic Leap engineers today announced that their new startup, which helps streamline the design process of 3D concepts for VR/AR apps, has raised $3.5 million in seed funding.


Federal judge blocks Trump's latest travel ban

An Iraqi family landed in the United States as a federal court blocked a travel ban in March. Photo: Felipe Dana / AP

A federal judge in Hawaii has blocked President Trump's third attempt at implementing a travel ban, which was set to go into effect Wednesday.

What's next: The administration is almost certain to appeal, meaning the revised ban could again reach the U.S. Supreme Court. But for now, the block means the administration cannot deny travelers from six of the eight countries officials said were either unable or unwilling to provide the information the U.S. requested for entry.

  • His quote: Judge Derrick K. Watson in Hawaii, who issued a temporary restraining order against the administration, said the latest version of the ban, "suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor."
  • What's in question: As with the previous versions, the underlying decision relies on whether the ban is based on animosity toward Muslims.
  • What makes this ban different from the previous versions: The latest order was only passed after the U.S. underwent extensive negotiations with other countries for more information that would vet their citizens. The list of countries affected by the ban also now includes North Korea and Venezuela, two countries that are not Muslim-majority. The other countries include Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, and Somalia.
  • What critics are saying: Challengers argue the additions are largely "symbolic," per the Washington Post's Matt Zapotosky, who writes that the new order would only impact" certain government officials from Venezuela, and very few people actually travel to the U.S. from North Korea each year."

Trump's short list for Fed chair

Yellen at a hearing in Washington. Photo: Andrew Harnik / AP

President Trump is expected to name his pick to be chairman of the Federal Reserve before leaving on an Asia trip Nov. 3, Bloomberg reports. Here are the candidates:

  1. Current chair Janet Yellen
  2. Fed board member Jerome Powell
  3. National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn
  4. Former Fed member Kevin Warsh
  5. Stanford University economist John Taylor
Why it matters: "At issue for the next Fed chair, if Yellen isn't renominated, is ensuring the long expansion doesn't give way to a recession," Bloomberg writes.