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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Here are the energy topics insiders at Davos were most obsessed with:

Tech in focus: Rapid declines in battery and renewable costs were celebrated, as was the disruptive potential of AI, machine learning and blockchain — enabling technologies like distributed microgrids and connected homes as well as innovations in oil-and-gas trading.

Shale: With U.S. oil production about to exceed 10 million barrels per day, the highest in its history, the reemergence of the U.S. as an energy superpower is a new dynamic in energy markets and a concern for Saudi Arabia, Russia and other producers struggling to prop up prices by cutting output.

One big question: Electric and autonomous vehicles and shared mobility will shake up transportation, but there's no consensus on how quickly they might cause oil demand to decline, given that passenger cars represent only 25% of oil use. Per the International Energy Agency, petrochemicals will provide the strongest lift to oil demand (barring a backlash against rising ocean pollution that stigmatizes plastics).

Yes, but: Despite the optimism, serious concerns remain. There is a yawning gap between the current emissions trajectory and the transformation needed to achieve commitments in the Paris agreement, let alone to limit the global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius. The rise of alternative fuels and potential “lower for longer” oil prices that could result from decreased demand also introduce a host of geopolitical risks — in addition to those from North Korea, Sunni-Shia tensions, the retreat from free trade in some advanced economies, and Trump's unpredictable foreign policy.

Jason Bordoff is Professor of Professional Practice in International and Public Affairs and Founding Director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University.

Go deeper

Capitol repairs, security top $30M since Jan. 6 attacks

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Architect of the Capitol Brett Blanton on Wednesday said that repairs and security expenses related to the Jan. 6 insurrection have already cost more than $30 million.

The state of play: Congressional appropriations committees have allocated the $30 million for repairs and perimeter fencing around the Capitol building through March 31, per NPR.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

White House stands by imperiled Tanden nomination after Senate panel postpones hearing

Neera Tanden. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate Homeland Security Committee is postponing a confirmation hearing scheduled Wednesday for Neera Tanden, Axios has learned, a potential death knell for President Biden's nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget.

The latest: Asked Wednesday afternoon whether Tanden has offered to withdraw her nomination, Psaki told reporters, "That’s not the stage we’re in." She noted that it's a "numbers game" and a "matter of getting one Republican" to support the nomination.

Acting Capitol Police chief: Officers were unsure of lethal force rules on Jan. 6

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman wrote in prepared remarks for a House hearing on Thursday that officers in her department were "unsure of when to use lethal force" during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Why it matters: Capitol Police did deploy lethal force on Jan. 6 — shooting and killing 35-year-old Ashli Babbit — but have faced questions over why officers appeared to be less forceful against pro-Trump rioters than participants in previous demonstrations, including those over Black Lives Matter and now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.