Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

One thing to watch once this tragic crisis passes is what forms of enforced behavior stick around by choice after lockdowns end — and what it means for energy use.

Where it stands: Global oil demand has collapsed as lots of air and vehicle travel has stopped, and billions of people worldwide are cutting back or halting their movements.

  • It's not so clear that everyone's life will simply snap back into its old form — especially people lucky enough to have jobs that enable working from home.
  • And the changes go beyond just having your cats as officemates, especially as technology around remote interactions evolves.

Energy analyst Michael Liebreich posted a wide-ranging analysis yesterday on the energy dimensions of the crisis.

  • One of his points: "Many of the new forms of behavior we adopt through necessity are going to prove sticky — and given that most of them involve staying at home or staying local, they are going to act as powerful long-term brakes on emission growth."
  • His piece in BloombergNEF explores ways that work, business travel, remote health care, schooling, urban infrastructure and more could be reshaped.

Climate expert Michael Gerrard, director of Columbia University's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, mentions a similar point in this thorough blog post from the university's Earth Institute, saying we're “learning more about how much face-to-face interaction is and is not essential."

  • “We’re all struggling to communicate virtually, and we’ll learn a lot more about the contexts in which travel can be avoided without great loss from face-to-face interaction," Gerrard said.
  • "This could ultimately help us deal with climate change because we will see what chunk of [our interactions] can be reduced by electronic communication."

But, but, but: No sane people — and certainly not the two men quoted above — are welcoming the COVID-19 pandemic or calling it anything other than a tragedy.

  • And a number of experts (Gerrard among them) fear that the coronavirus is serving to sap resources and policymakers' focus on climate change as they address the crisis.
  • The Breakthrough Institute estimates that the coronavirus will drive a 0.5% to 2.2% cut in global CO2 emissions this year, but says overall the effect will "be neither strong enough nor prolonged enough to meaningfully alter our climate’s trajectory."

The bottom line: It's nonetheless worth thinking about how COVID-19 could re-shape people's lives once the crisis is over.

Go deeper: How Congress' coronavirus stimulus would affect the energy industry

Go deeper

Fed chair says low interest rates aren't driving stock market prices

Jerome Powell. Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / Getty Images

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell told reporters on Wednesday that rock-bottom interest rates aren't playing a role in driving stock prices higher, while noting that vulnerabilities to the financial system are "moderate."

Why it matters: The statement comes amid unshakeable stock prices and a Reddit-fueled market frenzy — prompting widespread fears of a bubble and the role monetary policy has played in that.

2 hours ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Coalition.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).