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And onto music. The singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman celebrated a birthday over the weekend, which is a great reason for her to play us into the news...
Royal Dutch Shell said Tuesday that it's leaving American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), a major Beltway industry lobbying group, over differences on climate change policy.
Why it matters: The rupture signals how Shell and some other oil giants, largely headquartered in Europe, are moving more aggressively on climate than the petroleum industry as a whole.
But, but, but: Shell is sticking with other lobbying groups — some of them more powerful than AFPM — that battled against key parts of the Obama administration's climate agenda.
What they're saying: The report lays out several policy differences with AFPM, noting that "AFPM has not stated support for the goal of the Paris Agreement," which Shell backs.
The big picture: Shell reviewed its worldwide participation in 19 industry associations overall, finding agreement with 9 and "some misalignment" with 9 others in addition to the deeper split with AFPM, which is the only one it's leaving.
Groups with "some misalignment" with Shell's climate positions include the American Petroleum Institute, which is the industry's most powerful U.S lobbying group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Manufacturers
What's next: "We will continue to engage further with these industry associations to promote climate-related policies that support the goal of the Paris Agreement," Shell said. This will include closely monitoring groups' positions and weighing actions like...
Context: The review of trade group memberships stemmed from a wider agreement reached in December with activist investors under the umbrella of Climate Action 100+.
Go deeper: Explore Shell's wider climate positioning here.
Driving the news: The state oil giant lays out a series of climate and climate-policy related risks to its business, including reduced demand for fossil fuels, litigation, and threats to infrastructure.
But what really intrigued me is how the Saudis are increasingly making the case that in a carbon-constrained world, their oil will have market-staying power.
"Climate change concerns may cause demand for crude oil with lower average carbon intensities to increase relative to those with higher average carbon intensities."— The prospectus
What they're saying: "I see it as a recognition of what's important to a large portion of investors and consumers," oil analyst and Saudi expert Ellen Wald told me yesterday.
Flashback: Experts have been predicting that the Saudis would increasingly emphasize this, including Rice University's Jim Krane in a paper last year.
Duke Energy is urging North Carolina utility regulators to approve a 3-year, $76 million dollar company plan to expand electric vehicle charging in the state.
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Policy: A new paper from the Progressive Policy Institute warns that the U.S. is falling behind in the race to become a global EV industry leader.
Milestones: Via Reuters, "Almost 60 percent of all new cars sold in Norway in March were fully electric, the Norwegian Road Federation (NRF) said on Monday, a global record as the country seeks to end fossil-fueled vehicles sales by 2025."
Axios' Amy Harder chatted with the money manager behind New York State's public pension fund, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who is pushing ExxonMobil and other big companies to do more on climate change.
Driving the news: New York’s fund and Church of England’s endowment have filed a shareholder resolution aimed at getting Exxon to set aggressive emissions reductions targets.
Axios: Would you ever consider divesting your shares — about .25% of all outstanding Exxon shares — if the company doesn’t act in the way you’re calling for?
"We do that rarely and not without very significant deliberation. … Having a voice at the table, trying to press them to do the right thing, that in the short run I still think is a smarter strategy. Longer term, we’re going to keep a close eye on how Exxon behaves in response to our calls. … I’m sure they would love us to sell our shares so we wouldn’t be at the table anymore pressing them.”
Axios: What’s your reaction to Norway’s sovereign wealth fund — the largest in the world — divesting from some oil companies, those focused just on exploring and producing?
“Some people have argued, ‘Look at Norway, they’re pulling out of all of this.’ They’re not really. It’s a lot more nuanced and complex than divestment advocates recognize or are willing to admit. … You can’t lose sight of the fact that while we certainly want companies to do the right thing on climate change, at the end of the day we have to produce returns that support retirement benefits of 1.1 million New Yorkers.”
Bloomberg columnist Matt Levine spotted a fascinating footnote, which says Aramco loses 10,000 barrels of oil per day. As in, literally.
Why it matters: It's a helpful way of envisioning Aramco's sheer production scale. Here's Levine...
"That’s 'loses' in the strictest sense: It loads them on a truck or ship or pipeline, and then when it goes to unload them they’re not there any more. They’ve evaporated or leaked or shrunk or whatever."
By the numbers: He notes it represents just 0.1% of the company's output, but adds that even that rounding error is the equivalent of 14 trains cars full of oil vanishing a day or losing a supertanker full of oil per year.
"If you had a supertanker full of oil you probably would not misplace it. Aramco just has too much oil to care," Levine writes.
Go deeper: Aramco's Big Reveal: What We Learned About the Saudi Oil Giant (Bloomberg)
"I think we may end up with a hybrid. I think some of those proceeds need to go to the technology, and the innovation and the research because the public will demand that."
Who said it: Democratic Rep. Paul Tonko, who heads a House subcommittee on energy and climate change, speaking on the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast.
Context: It's his argument for why some revenues from putting a price on carbon should be used to fund low-carbon tech development.
Why it matters: The comments are a sign of the thorny debates that await even if carbon pricing gains political traction.
Editor's note: In yesterday's Generate, the third story was updated with new details from S&P, which now says its report shows Murray Electric was in default at the time but now has a forward-looking rating of CCC+. It also corrected the use of the word "corporate failures" with "defaults."