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Global energy investments stabilized last year after three years of decline, due to greater spending on oil, natural gas and coal, according to a new International Energy Agency report just published.

What they’re saying: Fatih Birol, IEA executive director, says that “the world is not investing enough in traditional elements of supply to maintain today’s consumption patterns, nor is it investing enough in cleaner energy technologies to change course. Whichever way you look, we are storing up risks for the future.”

Report highlights:

  • Coal comeback: Coal supply investment increased for the first time since 2012, up 2% between 2017 and 2018.
  • Distribution disparities: Just 14% of energy investment dollars in 2018 went to regions where 42% of the world’s population live.
  • Chinese dominance: China spends nearly 0.08% of its GDP on energy research and development, and it's widening the gap compared to the rest of the world (whose spending is less than 0.05% per GDP).
  • Battery boost: Investment in battery storage rose by 45% between 2017 and 2018 to a record $4 billion.
  • Oil imbalance: Oil spending levels would need to drop to meet the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement goals, but they also “fall well short of what would be needed in a world of continued strong oil demand.”

Go deeper: Click here to sign up for our energy newsletter to read more about the report, particularly that last point.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.

Kids’ screen time up 50% during pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When the coronavirus lockdowns started in March, kidstech firm SuperAwesome found that screen time was up 50%. Nearly a year later, that percentage hasn't budged, according to new figures from the firm.

Why it matters: For most parents, pre-pandemic expectations around screen time are no longer realistic. The concern now has shifted from the number of hours in front of screens to the quality of screen time.

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