Good morning! Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,262 words, < 5 minutes.
Situational awareness: "The European Commission unveiled a 'climate law' on Wednesday to make the EU’s 2050 net zero emissions target legally binding, but Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and NGOs said more urgent action was needed to beat the climate crisis," Reuters reports.
🎵And at this moment in 1982, The Go-Go's were about to hit number 1 on the Billboard album charts with "Beauty and the Beat," which provides today's intro tune...
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
This week is providing a rolling demonstration of the divide between U.S. and European-headquartered multinational oil giants when it comes to climate change.
Driving the news: Chevron CEO Mike Wirth yesterday made the case for their posture, which eschews the deep, long-term, emissions-cutting targets of companies like BP and Shell.
What they're saying: “Certainly the European companies have made longer-term aspirational commitments," Wirth said yesterday at the company's annual meeting with analysts in New York.
What's next: Exxon holds its annual investor day Thursday, where its approach — which shares more with Chevron than European majors — is bound to come up.
The big picture: The two U.S. giants' annual presentations come on the heels of fresh climate pledges by their rivals across the Atlantic.
But, but, but: A couple of things are worth noting here. One is that Exxon and Chevron have taken new or wider steps in recent years.
David Goldwyn, a top State Department energy official early in the Obama years, offered me some explanations for the differing postures, including...
The bottom line: "[O]verall the problem is that the shareholder base of the U.S. companies is neither insisting on nor rewarding a move away from the core business," says Goldwyn, now head of the consultancy Goldwyn Global Strategies.
Chevron's stock closed down roughly 2% yesterday after the company's presentation to analysts, which included a target of distributing $75 billion to $80 billion to shareholders over five years via dividends and buybacks.
What we're watching: Exxon, which has faced financial struggles in recent years, holds its investor day tomorrow.
Go deeper: Chevron’s $80 billion pledge to investors exceeds $100-crude era (Bloomberg)
An analysis on the effect of the novel coronavirus on oil demand is driving home the stakes of the OPEC+ meeting later this week.
What's new: Via Axios' Orion Rummler, IHS Markit estimates that the decline in oil demand this quarter will be the largest ever recorded, edging out what happened in the 2008–2009 financial crisis.
What they're saying: “This is a sudden, instant demand shock — and the scale of the decline is unprecedented,” said Jim Burkhard, IHS Markit's head of oil markets. Orion has more here.
What's next: All eyes will be on the OPEC+ meeting in Vienna on Thursday and Friday as the producers try and shore up prices that have fallen sharply since the outbreak.
The big picture: The IHS report is among several analyses on the effect of the illness that's sharply curtailing travel and economic activity.
Go deeper: Follow our coronavirus coverage here.
A top business trade association official and the CEO of a major pipeline company said Tuesday they want the federal government to do more on climate change — but they’re not actually backing any such plans, Axios' Amy Harder reports.
Driving the news: Marty Durbin, a top official at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Williams Company CEO Alan Armstrong, speaking at a Bipartisan Policy Center event, both said they think the government should create an economy-wide policy to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
But, but, but: They don’t support any pending proposals to do that, like a carbon tax or a clean energy standard.
“We do have a lot of [member] companies who already are clearly saying they are for a price on carbon. Well, guess what, there are a lot of others that don’t. Clearly, we don’t have consensus among the members. So we don’t support a price on carbon at the moment. We’re also not opposing one. We’re not lobbying against a carbon tax of any kind.”— Marty Durbin, president, Chamber's Global Energy Institute
Bolt Mobility's electric scooter and CEO Julia Steyn. Photos: Bolt Mobility
Bolt Mobility, a Miami Beach-based electric scooter company co-founded by Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, announced Tuesday that it closed a Series A funding round, Axios' Joann Muller reports.
Why it matters: Bolt, led by former General Motors mobility executive Julia Steyn, is entering a crowded field in which many competitors are losing money and cutting back after two years of explosive growth.
Details: The funding round was co-led by Rokk3r Fuel ExO and Sofreh Capital.
Of note: Bolt also announced that Ed Welburn, GM's former vice president of global design, is joining the company as an advisor.
"Welcome to Dallas, where my Uber was a heavily souped-up pickup truck, and people have never heard of Greta."
Who said it: Mizuho Securities analyst Paul Sankey in a client note yesterday, referencing the high-profile Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (h/t to Amy for selecting today's quote).
The context: Sankey is relaying his experience at an energy finance conference where he spoke about "The Greta Effect" — that is, the rising tide of climate activism — among the forces battering the oil sector.