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Happy Friday! Quick note: The inaugural issue of the Axios Science newsletter dropped yesterday. It's great. You can sign up here to get Axios Science in your inbox every Thursday. Ok, let's head for the weekend . . .

Rise of the machines

Giphy

The analysts at Wolfe Research are out with the first installment of their "Journey to the End of the Oil Age" series.

The big idea: One part of Wolfe's lengthy report is a thought-provoking analysis of when and how electric vehicles might really, really take off. The conclusion? By becoming more like iPhones and less like cars.

Crystal ball: Basically, they forecast no medium-term collapse in U.S. gasoline demand (which accounts for nearly half of all U.S. oil use).

But after 2025, things could get really interesting. They see autonomous cars, electrification, and digital connection converging into such a new system that it will be like the ultimate "killer app"— one that transforms the business and consumer equations that have thus far held EVs to a tiny market share.

In their words: "Like other Killer Apps, such as the smartphone, consumers will feel a strong desire to upgrade from old to new, regardless of price relative to the old tech. This will be a step-change in consumer experience."

  • "Automakers...will be highly motivated to sell (unlike current EVs), because the digitally-connected ecosystem and data collection of each unit could hold more revenue opportunity than the initial vehicle sale itself — some estimates are as high as 10x the revenue over the vehicle life."

Bottom line: The report models several adoption scenarios for this "new travel ecosystem." The fastest adoption scenario cuts U.S. gasoline demand in half by around 2033.

My conversation with Rep. Shimkus

GOP Rep. John Shimkus is chairman of the environment subcommittee under the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee. He chatted with me at his Capitol Hill office earlier this week. Some takeaways...

Yucca Mountain: He wants to get legislation to revive the long-stalled nuclear waste repository through the House before the August break, and said there's "no reticence" among leadership.

  • Shimkus knows Yucca faces big hurdles amid opposition in Nevada, but says that "you can pick up bits and pieces of some interest" in the state too.

Ethanol: Shimkus still wants to convene bipartisan talks to seek agreement on changes to the controversial Renewable Fuel Standard. But actual negotiations "have not begun."

Superfund: EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has signaled that he wants to prioritize waste cleanup and Shimkus is hopeful it will happen (though President Donald Trump's proposed budget would cut funding).

  • "I think a lot of Democrats — if [Pruitt] focuses on getting the job done — will appreciate his streamlining the process and really getting to the point of the problem, and trying to fix the problem. Because you can't defend these delays," Shimkus said.
  • Shimkus is interested in working with EPA on potential legislative changes to aid cleanups.

Paris: Amid the internal White House debate, he's leaning toward the side that favors withdrawing from the climate deal, saying he's not a fan of joining international pacts using executive authority.

"The majority of members of the House Republicans would not cry if we left the Paris accords. I think it would be a large majority of our conference," he said.

The Permian engine roars

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is out with a helpful, reader-friendly snapshot of oil-and-gas data and trends in the region, including the red-hot Permian Basin region of Texas and New Mexico.

Why it matters: The Permian's beehive of activity is a big reason why U.S. production didn't sink further during the price doldrums and why it's moving steadily up toward record levels.

Go deeper: The report notes that the Permian now accounts for nearly 40 percent of the active U.S. drilling rigs.

In their words: "Better economics and higher interest due to the region's favorable geology have likely contributed to the rise; many shale formations in the Permian are stacked, making it efficient to drill into different reservoirs from the same location."

Earth is very warm again in 2017

NOAA

Newly released federal data suggests the planet is on track for another extremely warm year.

The findings: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that the global land and ocean surface temps from January-April was the second highest such period since records began in 1880, trailing only 2016, and was 0.95°C above the 20th century average.

Why it matters: because global warming.

Let's turn it over to Mashable's science expert Andrew Freedman, who looked at the new NOAA data alongside new NASA data on Arctic warmth fueling high temperatures in April.

"The new findings illustrate how the planet is still setting climate milestones even in the absence of other factors that tend to elevate global air and sea temperatures, such as an El Niño event," Freedman writes.

From Amy’s notebook: conservative climate hires

My Axios colleague Amy Harder reports...

A conservative group, which is pushing a long-shot bid at getting Washington to back a carbon tax, keeps beefing up its ranks.

Exclusive: After launching in February with elder GOP statesmen like James Baker, Henry Paulson, and George Schultz, the Climate Leadership Council has quickly hired several people, including two more this week: Jill Sigal, a top official in President George W. Bush's Energy Department; and, Taiya Smith, who worked with Paulson at the Treasury Department under Bush.

Liberal TED? Speaking of the CLC, its president and founder Ted Halstead gave a TED Talk that posted online this week, which apparently is popular among liberals only.

After Halstead gave his 10-minute pitch (tax carbon emissions, return the money to the public, and scuttle climate regulations), TED curator Chris Anderson returned to the stage during the applause and said: "I'm actually not sure I've seen a conservative getting a standing O at TED before, that's pretty cool."

Reality check: Most of the support for climate policy rests within the Democratic Party, but Halstead and his group are nonetheless confident in their uphill battle.

Roundup: BP personnel moves, OPEC, Paris, and Russia

People: Geoff Morrell, a familiar name in journalism and energy circles, has been promoted to BP's group head of communications and external affairs, based in London.

Morrell is currently the energy giant's senior VP for U.S. communications and external affairs. The former Pentagon spokesman and journalist has been with BP since 2011, and said he's "honored and excited" about the new role that starts in August.

Stepping into Morrell's shoes in the top U.S. role will be Mary Streett, who is currently the company's head of U.S. government affairs.

Paris: Shell CEO Ben van Beurden is pretty outspoken as far as big oil CEOs go, and he's back at it with this NPR interview, where he makes the case for the U.S. staying in the Paris climate accord.

  • "Van Beurden argues CEOs have a responsibility to speak out against industry organizations that support politicians who deny the existence of climate change," NPR reports.

OPEC: Reuters looks at the cartel's behind-the-scenes planning for next week's meeting, where hotly anticipated decisions about extending the production-cutting agreement are expected.

Russia: The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. officials are looking into Russia's influence over Citgo Petroleum Corp., a move that arrives "amid heightened concern that the Kremlin is seeking to use energy as a political weapon against the U.S."

Thanks for reading! Next week should bring some interesting moments on Capitol Hill. President Trump's two nominees for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, as well as his pick for the number two Energy Department position, appear before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday.

Confidential tips and feedback are always welcome at ben@axios.com. Have a great weekend.

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Police discover trailer with 8 dead in San Antonio

Eric Gay / AP

AP/San Antonio: "Eight people were found dead in a tractor-trailer loaded with at least 30 others outside a Walmart store in Texas' stifling summer heat in what police are calling a horrific human trafficking case. The driver was arrested."
  • "Twenty other people in extremely critical or serious condition and eight more with lesser injuries including heat stroke and dehydration were found inside the truck, which didn't have a working air conditioning system despite blistering temperatures that topped 100 degrees."
  • "A person from the truck initially approached a Walmart employee in a parking lot and asked for water late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, said police in San Antonio, where temperatures on Saturday reached 101 degrees. The employee gave the person the water and then called police, and when officers arrived they found the eight people dead in the back of the trailer and 30 other survivors inside."
  • "Investigators checked store surveillance video, which showed vehicles had arrived and picked up other people from the tractor-trailer. ... [M]any of those inside the truck appeared to be adults in their 20s and 30s but also apparently two school-age children."
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Scaramucci's fiesty exchange with Jake Tapper over deleted tweets

New White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci has been deleteting some of his old tweets, including comments on topics like climate change and guns.

Below is his Sunday exchange with CNN host Jake Tapper on the topic:

A sampling:

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Trump's mini-me

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Look for Anthony Scaramucci, the incoming White House communications director, to take the White House podium more often than his predecessors. In past administrations, it has been a largely behind-the-scenes position, with the press secretary doing the daily on-camera talking.

  • "He's good at it and he's competitive," one friend said. "He's going to want to be out there on the days with the biggest sh--storms. He likes the game. He likes to spar, but he's not nasty about it. And he likes the controversy — he's a typical Wall Street guy."
  • Nevertheless, Mooch plans to elevate the cachet of the new press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Expect her to do the vast bulk of on-camera briefings.
  • He's been deleting lots of old tweets, but here they are.

Talker column by Maureen Dowd on "The Mooch And the Mogul":

"A wealthy mini-me Manhattan bro with wolfy smile and slick coif who will say anything and flip any position. A self-promoter extraordinaire and master salesman who doesn't mind pushing a bad product — and probably sees it as more fun. ... The Mogul and the Mooch is a tender love story with dramatic implications for the imploding White House.
"Both enjoy stirring the pot ... They savor counterpunching ... But a change in communications personnel will not solve the central problem for President Trump. He doesn't understand that Robert Mueller is not a contractor he's in a civil litigation dispute with, someone he can intimidate and wear down and threaten and bleed out."
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Scaramucci promises "dramatic action" to stop the leaks

New White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci is making the Sunday Show rounds today.

  • From Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace: "[W]e have to get the leaks stopped. If we don't get them stopped. I'm a businessperson so I will take dramatic action to stop those leaks. ... If the leaks don't stop I'm going to pare down the staff because it's just not right.... Something is going on inside the White House that the president does not like. We will fix it."
  • From an interview with John Dickerson of CBS News, when asked how he'll treat leakers on his watch: "They're going to get fired. I'm just going to make it very, very clear, okay? Tomorrow I'm going to have a staff meeting. And it's going to be a very binary thing. I'm not going to make any prejudgments about anybody on that staff. If they want to stay on the staff, they're going to stop leaking."
  • Bonus: Scaramucci told Wallace that while he thinks some members of the press are stretching or making up stories, he wants to "engage" the mainstream media, adding that he wants to "de-escalate" tensions between the press and the White House.
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Newfound Clinton-era memo: presidents can be indicted

Susan Walsh / AP

"Can Presidents Be Indicted? A Long-Hidden Legal Memo Says Yes," by N.Y. Times' Charlie Savage:

  • "A newfound memo from Kenneth W. Starr's independent counsel investigation into President Bill Clinton ... raises the possibility that Mr. Mueller may have more options than most commentators have assumed."
  • The 56-page memo was written for Starr by constitutional scholar Ronald Rotunda, "locked in the National Archives for nearly two decades and obtained by The New York Times under the Freedom of Information Act."
  • The memo concludes: 'It is proper, constitutional, and legal for a federal grand jury to indict a sitting president for serious criminal acts that are not part of, and are contrary to, the president's official duties ... In this country, no one, even President Clinton, is above the law.'"
  • "In 1974, the Watergate special counsel, Leon Jaworski, had also received a memo from his staff saying he could indict the president."
  • See the Starr memo, posted by The Times.
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Report: U.K. wants Trump test trip before full State visit

President Trump has been asked to visit the U.K. for low-key talks with Theresa May this year, according to a report by the Daily Mail, which says the trip will be a test run for whether to hold a full State visit.

The British tabloid claims U.K. leadership is concerned about Trump potentially violating protocol while visiting the Queen, in addition to fears of a falling out with British PM Theresa May that could risk a bad post-Brexit U.S. trade deal for the U.K., while the White House wants to avoid the embarrassment of major anti-Trump rallies during a visit with an ally.

Then-president Barack Obama's first U.K. state visit in 2011 included meetings with the Queen, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and PM David Cameron and opposition leader Ed Miliband.

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General: "unimaginable" to allow North Korea capability to nuke U.S.

Wong Maye-E / AP

Comments yesterday at the Aspen Security Forum from Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, via Politico's Nahal Toosi:

"Many people have talked about military options with words like 'unimaginable'... I would probably shift that slightly and say it would be horrific... [A]nyone who's been alive since World War II has never seen the loss of life that could occur if there's a conflict on the Korean Peninsula.
"[I]t is not unimaginable to have military options to respond to North Korean nuclear capability. What's unimaginable to me is allowing a capability that would allow a nuclear weapon to land in Denver, Colorado. That's unimaginable to me. So my job will be to develop military options to make sure that doesn't happen."

Go deeper: We asked experts how to deal with North Korea.

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Lawmakers agree on Russia sanctions for election-meddling

Evan Vucci / AP

A group of bipartisan lawmakers agreed today to move forward with legislation that would impose sanctions against Russia for their meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, NYT reports. Congress will vote on Tuesday. The expansive sanctions are also for continuing to deploy military forces in Ukraine, annexing Crimea, and abusing human rights.

  • The White House has argued that Congress should allow Trump to have flexibility in his ability to adjust these sanctions as a way to handle Russia how he sees fit. Trump has tried to manage the U.S.' relationship with Russia on his own terms, and these sanctions would make that more difficult.
  • Why it matters: Congress will force Trump into a difficult decision: veto the bill, or move forward and risk his efforts to improve our relationship with Russia. The legislation includes sanctions on North Korea and Iran.
  • Paul Ryan's spokeswoman AshLee Strong told Axios: "This a tough sanctions package that includes measures overwhelmingly supported on a bipartisan basis that would hold three bad actors to account: Iran, Russia, and North Korea. We look forward to moving these sanctions next week before the August work period."
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Major problems plague start of Pokemon Go Fest

Credit: Niantic

The creators of Pokemon Go held their first major in-person event in Chicago on Saturday but things got off to a rough start. Many of those who paid to attend the event reported being stuck in line or unable to log into the app. Attendees would have a chance to catch rare Pokemon — including a Pokemon "monster" if certain goals were met, per Chicago Tribune.
CEO John Hanke was booed as he took the stage in Grant Park, and festival attendees reportedly started chanting "fix the game" at him when they realized they were unable to log on. Niantic is currently working on the issue and the company will reportedly refund participants for their tickets and give them $100 in virtual currency for the game.
Why it matters: Live events are seen as a big part of the company's strategy to keep the game's most active players engaged, so technical issues during a highly-anticipated event do not bode well for the company.
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Scaramucci goes full Breitbart

Breitbart / YouTube

Anthony Scaramucci gave his first interview as White House communications director to Breitbart's Matt Boyle. The two sounded like old friends, with Scaramucci kicking off the early-morning SiriusXM's "Breitbart News Saturday" interview by jokingly asking Boyle, "Did you send your job application form in yet, Matt?...Do you need my email so I can get your resume over here?"

Boyle laughed and replied: "Anthony, I'm honored, maybe we can talk about that later." Scaramucci praised Breitbart for capturing "the spirit of what is actually going on in the country, where there's a large group of people...who've been disaffected from the economic franchise." (FWIW: I asked Boyle whether he'd seriously consider a job in the White House press shop and he declined to comment.)

Between the lines: Sean Spicer had a terrible relationship with Breitbart, the right-wing outlet whose alumni, including Steve Bannon, now work in the White House. Scaramucci now appears to want to elevate the outlet in general, and Boyle in particular. By giving Boyle (Breitbart's most unrestrained attack dog) such prominence from the outset, Scaramucci is signaling that the President wants to make better use of conservative/friendly media outlets to transmit his messages without a critical filter.

Interview highlights:

  • Breitbart First: Scaramucci told Boyle that he and the President talked Friday about the fact that there are "enough outlets, whether it's Breitbart, the President's social media feed, all of the different apparatus that we have where people will allow us to deliver our message to the American people unfiltered."
  • Fresh start: Scaramucci also called his appointment a "fresh start" and said he wanted to see if he could "de-escalate" tensions with mainstream media outlets.
  • Bonding over "fake news": At the end of the interview Boyle asked Scaramucci how he planned to "combat" the "fake news" given he was a "victim of fake news" recently on CNN. Boyle was referring to CNN's recent retraction of a story about Scaramucci, which resulted in CNN management firing three employees. Boyle wrote more than a dozen pieces bashing CNN during that period. Scaramucci said to Boyle: "You've also been a great help in terms of exposure and I do appreciate what you did for me during that incident...I want to thank you publicly in front of your listeners."