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Good morning. Welcome back! It has been a while since I mentioned that Axios had a bunch of cool, informative and breezy newsletters on tech, finance, health care and more. You can sign up here. One other thing: Big thanks to Amy Harder and several other Axios colleagues for their contributions to today's newsletter. Ok let's dive in . . .

The campaign for Paris


We're watching an important dynamic in light of reports last night, including ours, that White House momentum is shifting toward an exit from the Paris climate pact — the prospect of a NAFTA redux.

What we're hearing: Sources tell Axios that advocates for the U.S. staying in the Paris deal are upping their efforts to have heads of state directly weigh in with President Donald Trump in favor of remaining, similar to how the leaders of Mexico and Canada reportedly called Trump and persuaded him to renegotiate instead of terminate NAFTA.

  • "One of the things we're doing as the green group contingency is to talk to other countries to make sure to tell them that now is the time to make your voice heard," an environmentalist said.

What they hope: To shift the momentum back towards staying in the Paris pact.

  • "It's not over until it's over when it comes to Trump," a longtime global climate diplomacy insider told Axios.

Exclusive from Amy’s notebook: Data shows coal decline

Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Coal mining jobs dropped almost 8% in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the same period last year, according to Labor Department data obtained by Axios.

Reality check: The coal industry in the U.S. is not going to have a big and lasting comeback. Any upward tick will be peripheral and temporary, and mostly driven by market trends like natural gas prices and coal demand in China, not Trump's rhetoric and his efforts to repeal Obama-era environmental rules.

What they're saying: "I have no illusion we'll suddenly go back to the production we were at five years ago," Colin Marshall, CEO of Cloud Peak Energy, one of the biggest coal producers in the U.S., said in a recent interview with Axios.

The race to save ARPA-E


In private Capitol Hill meetings and public advocacy, cleantech companies and universities are lobbying to preserve an Energy Department program that funds research into cutting-edge technologies.

Driving the news: A fight between the White House and Congress over the fate of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, a program with bipartisan backing that Trump's fiscal year 2018 budget plan would zero out.

  • Round one: The new federal spending deal that runs through September is a win for ARPA-E backers, providing $306 million, which is actually a slight boost over current funding. But the battle for 2018 money remains.

Going public: A letter out today from over 100 companies, universities and groups to top congressional appropriators to provide at least $325 million, arguing the program provides a "tremendous competitive advantage to our nation."

Behind the scenes: Energy company leaders, researchers and university officials have been meeting with their delegations urging support.

  • CEOs with the American Energy Innovation Council, a coalition of big companies and advocates including Bill Gates, have privately urged key appropriators that ARPA-E and related programs are "critical to U.S. long-term energy technology competitiveness and U.S. economic growth," a source with the group said. More meetings are expected as the FY 2018 fight heats up in coming months.

Even more ARPA-E

There's a lot of angst and confusion over what exactly is going on. According to multiple press accounts and your host's own reporting, funding for some projects approved under existing appropriations has been halted by Trump's Energy Department personnel.

High-level attention: It's something that's on the radar screen of GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who heads the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and is also a senior member of the Appropriations Committee.

What they're saying: Murkowski said yesterday that she's been in touch with staff about the fate of the projects. The upshot of what she said is that the projects are not scuttled.

  • "It means that until they get this release on the authorization to send the monies out, that they are just on hold. It is my understanding that we have not lost those projects, but there is kind of a process issue that we are dealing with right now," she said.

Climate change and Saudi Aramco’s IPO

Not the usual fare on the mother of all IPOs: An essay in The Economist Intelligence Unit makes the case that Saudi Aramco's massive initial public offering next year has a climate change "upside."

The take: Ben Caldecott, director of the Sustainable Finance Programme at the University of Oxford, says:

  • Cash raised can help Saudi Arabia, the world's 10th-largest GHG emitter, invest in renewables to help move its "inefficient and heavily polluting economy" off of oil.
  • Aramco's reserves are low-carbon intensity compared to some of the hard to reach, expensive holdings of international oil companies (IOCs) like BP and Shell. Investors can cut exposure to IOCs by shifting to Aramco. This should have a double impact: It will make it harder for IOCs to raise money for costly and environmentally harmful projects, and it should "jolt" the IOCs to diversify away from fossil fuels.
  • If Aramco is listed on an exchange with high standards, like the London Stock Exchange, it will pressure the company and the kingdom for more transparency and accountability — it might even push Aramco into implementing climate risk disclosure recommendations.
IPO details: Reuters has the latest on the planned Aramco IPO.

Lightning round

Utilities: Power giant Southern Company reported $658 million profit in the first quarter of 2017 on Wednesday.

Solar: The Wall Street Journal reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission is probing whether solar energy companies are "masking how many customers they're losing."

Regulations: Bloomberg reports that a congressional vote to kill one of Obama's climate regulations could hinge on an unrelated ethanol dispute.

Tesla: Axios' Steve LeVine has a smart look at the difficulties confronting Elon Musk's vision of underground tunnels, which would carry self-driving cars, to ease traffic.

More Tesla: Recode sets the stage for the company's first-quarter earnings call this evening.

One fun thing

Climate activist Bill McKibben hasn't read the scientific paper recently penned about his influence in the climate debate, but he writes to Axios' Amy Harder that it makes him "feel suitably ancient to be the subject of academic inquiry..."

For the record: The paper's title is "Bill McKibben's Effect on the US Climate Change Debate: Shifting the Institutional Environment Through Radical Flank Effects."

Thanks for reading! Oh, and a little going away present: my Axios colleague Stef W. Kight has a handy guide to the blowback over New York Times' columnist Bret Stephens' piece on climate change. Your confidential tips and feedback are welcome at See you tomorrow.


Uber gets competitive in the food-delivery service

McDonald's ordered through the Postmates service. Photo: Chandice Choi/AP

Along with the development of ride-sharing services came food-delivery services: ordering food through an app and having it delivered to your door. The New York Times cited a study by McKinsey that found food delivery "is a $100 billion-plus market, or about 1 percent of the total food market." And Uber wants a piece of that market.

Key numbers: UberEats is available in more than 120 markets around the world. The number of trips for UberEats drivers grew more than 24 times in one year, and by last July it was "profitable in 27 of the 108 cities where it operated," per NYT.

UberEats "sometimes eclipses Uber's main ride-hailing business in markets like Tokyo; Taipei, Taiwan; and Seoul, South Korea," the company told NYT.

But as UberEats continues to thrive, competition looms large:

  • Postmates has raised over $250 million since it started and the company makes 2.5 million deliveries each month. Like UberEats, Postmates is a full delivery service system.
  • Grubhub has "an active base of 8.17 million customers," and Matt Maloney, the company's founder, told the Times their sole focus on take-out ordering sets them apart.

Price will stop using taxpayer-funded private jets

Trump and HHS Secretary Tom Price arrive on Capitol Hill to rally support on health-care reform. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has racked up more than $400,000 after using a private jet to embark on his taxpayer-funded travels, Politico found. Now, Politico reports that Price will stop using a private jet for these travels because "We've heard the concerns. We take that very seriously and have taken it to heart," Price told Fox & Friends earlier today.

What's next: His department's inspector general will review his travel and the associated costs, and a decision will be made after that review is complete. A federal contract noted that Price cost taxpayers at least $65,000 in the last week alone, Politico notes.


Golden State Warriors will not visit the White House

A rally to celebrate the Golden State Warriors' NBA basketball championship. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

After Trump called out Stephen Curry in a tweet this morning (rescinding his invitation to the White House), his team stood with him and announced they will not be attending the White House visit at all.

"While we intended to meet as a team at the first opportunity we had this morning to collaboratively discuss a potential visit to the White House," the statement read, "we accept President Trump has made it clear that we are not invited."

"We believe there is nothing more American than our citizens having the right to express themselves freely on matters important to them," the statement continued. "We're disappointed that we did not have an opportunity during this process to share our views or have an open dialogue on issues impacting our communities that we felt would be important to raise.

Big picture, from Axios' Mike Allen: Trump is wading into culturally sensitive territory that could freshen opposition elsewhere, and ignite a debate wholly unrelated to anything he's trying to accomplish.

Go deeper: Trump vs. Curry, LeBron and pro athletes.


N. Korea: strike on U.S. is "inevitable"

In this unverified image from the North Korean government, Kim Jong-un is said to inspect loading of a hydrogen bomb into an ICBM, at unknown location (Korean Central News Agency / Korea News Service, via AP)

North Korea's foreign minister said today a strike on the U.S. is "inevitable," just after it was revealed that there were American fighter jets flying over the seas of North Korea.

"None other than Trump himself is on a suicide mission" and said that Trump's insults against North Korea and its leader make "our rocket's visit to the entire U.S. mainland inevitable all the more."

Context: Trump called Kim Jong-un "Rocket Man" in a recent tweet, which he restated during his UN speech, saying "Rocket Man" is "on a suicide mission."

North Korea's foreign minister shot back at Trump, saying POTUS has "turned the White House into a noisy marketing place full of crackling sounds of abacus beads and now he has tried to turn the U.N. arena into a gangsters' nest where money is respected and bloodshed is the order of the day."


Mexico hit with massive aftershock from earthquake

A woman attends an outdoor Catholic Mass near the school that collapsed during the earthquake in Mexico City. Photo: Rebecca Blackwell/AP

An aftershock of the 8.1-magnitude earthquake earlier this month went through the southern state Oaxaca this morning, measured at a magnitude of 6.1, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: Mexico is still recovering from the 7.1 quake on Tuesday that killed over 300 people. This is the third one this month. A resident of one of the cities hit by the earthquake on Sept. 7, Nataniel Hernandez, told the AP that Saturday's tremor is "one of the strongest movements he has felt" since then, but that "it has not stopped shaking."


American fighter jet flies over North Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and Choe Ryong Hae, vice-chairman of the central committee of the Workers' Party, Photo: Wong Maye-E/AP

The Pentagon reported B-1B bombers from Guam and F-15 fighter escorts from Okinawa, Japan, have flown over the waters of east North Korea, the "farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone...any American fighter or bomber has flown this century," the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: Dana White, Defense Department spokeswoman, said it was a "demonstration of U.S. resolve and a clear message" that Trump "has many military options to defeat any threat."

Go deeper: The psychological profile of Kim Jong-un, and how he and his "massive ego...reacts harshly and sometimes lethally to insults and perceived slights."


Trump: NFL players shouldn't "disrespect" our flag

Photo: AP

After numerous professional athletes tweeted about Trump (who made offensive remarks about the NFL and its players who kneel during the national anthem), he kept the conversation going:


Iran tested a ballistic missile

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sits before addressing the United Nations General Assembly. Photo: Jason DeCrow / AP

Iran unveiled its latest ballistic missile Friday and said it tested it today, Reuters reports. State television carried footage of the test. Iran said it is capable of carrying multiple warheads, of flying 2,000 km is capable of hitting parts of the Middle East, including Israel, a key American ally, per the AP.

The Trump effect: This is a challenge to Trump, since Trump signed a bill imposing penalties on those involved in Tehran's ballistic missile program last month. (The U.S. has said Tehran's tests violate a UN resolution endorsing the Iran nuclear deal.)

Iran's defense minister said "we will certainly not be the least affected by any threats and we won't ask anyone's permission" about its missile program.


  • Trump said this week he has "decided" whether to exit the Iran nuclear deal, but wouldn't reveal the decision.
  • Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said earlier this week if Trump follows through on his threats to nix the nuclear deal, America would pay "such a high cost."

The Trump administration re-approved sanctions waivers for Iran as part of the nuclear deal last week. The deadline to re-certify the deal as a whole is coming mid-October.

Go deeper: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Iran may be honoring technical aspects of the deal


Scott Pruitt met regularly with industry lobbyists

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks to the media during the daily briefing. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt has made decisions that benefit certain lobbying groups — soon after meeting with the corporate executives that represent them, according to his schedule obtained by the Washington Post.

Why it matters: While WaPo reports that Pruitt met with three public-health and environmental advocates, the meetings with industry advocates far outweighed them.

Mining, automobile, and fossil fuel executives are some of the big groups Pruitt has met with. Before relaxing Obama-era automobile fuel-efficiency standards, he met with General Motors, Ford Motor Co., and the "industry's lobbying arm" Auto Alliance. He met with the biggest commercial truck "glider" manufacturer in the U.S. before announcing he would "revisit an October 2016 decision to apply greenhouse gas emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks to gliders."


Steve Bannon to headline Roy Moore rally in Alabama

Photo: Carolyn Kaster / AP

Steve Bannon is heading to Alabama Sunday night to rally for Judge Roy Moore on Monday night with Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty.

Why it matters: This rally is three days after President Trump, Bannon's former boss, was in Alabama rallying for Moore's opponent — Mitch McConnell's favored candidate Luther Strange. For Bannon to make a rare public appearance in such close proximity to Trump shows how invested he is in this race specifically, and attacking McConnell more generally. Another former White House adviser, Sebastian Gorka, rallied with Sarah Palin for Moore on Thursday.

From a source close to Bannon: "Steve is coming to Alabama to support President Trump against the Washington establishment and Mitch McConnell. Steve views Judge Moore as a fierce advocate of Trump and the values he campaigned on."
Allies of Strange and Republicans close to the White House dispute that premise, and Trump points out Strange offered his support for Obamacare repeal with no strings attached, whereas Roy Moore has said he won't support anything less than full repeal.
Trump last night seemed conflicted about his Strange endorsement, suggesting he'd made a mistake and would support Moore if he wins. Moore leads Strange by 9 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics polling average.
"I'll be honest, I might have made a mistake... If his opponent wins, I'm going to be here campaigning like hell for him." — President Trump on Friday night
Breitbart has gone all in for Moore and is doing its national radio show on Sirius XM from Alabama today through Wednesday.

Multiple senior Breitbart editors are in Alabama, including Washington editor Matthew Boyle, London editor Raheem Kassam, the editor-in-chief of Breitbart London, and Jeff Poor, an Alabama native and the head of Breitbart TV.

"As of now, everyone is working on the Alabama race," Boyle wrote in a Breitbart Slack channel, per CNN's Oliver Darcy. "If anyone has any questions please let me know."