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At this time in 1981, Stevie Nicks had a one-week run atop the Billboard album charts with "Bella Donna." So that's reason enough for this intro tune...
An oil well outside Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images
A comprehensive Stanford-led analysis in Science finds that Saudi Arabia's crude oil production has the lowest carbon emissions per barrel among major petro-players.
Why it matters: Upstream production (before it's refined and used in cars, etc.) accounts for 5% of all greenhouse gas emissions from global fuel combustion, the study finds.
My thought bubble: The results could have ramifications well beyond academia, especially as carbon pricing and other climate policies emerge worldwide. Look for Aramco to try and ensure it doesn't just gather dust on a shelf.
By the numbers: The study finds that Saudi crude production averages roughly 5 grams of CO2-equivalent per megajoule — which is low in part because production from their giant conventional fields involves little flaring of gas.
What we're hearing: The Saudis are increasingly touting the carbon footprint of their crude, according to multiple sources.
Possible climate impact: Glen Peters, research director at Norway's CICERO Institute who was not involved in the study, notes that cutting CO2 from crude production is important because of the lack of good substitutes for oil in transportation. He says:
"Reducing flaring, avoiding heavy oil, and mitigating emissions in other fields will all help reduce global emissions, even while we consume oil."
"You could say to a degree we already knew this, but this paper has certainly upped the ante in terms of details and comprehensiveness."
What's next: The International Energy Agency is taking a closer look at the topic, and will include more data and analysis in its upcoming World Energy Outlook.
Of note: Aramco was among the funders of the research, and provided access to an expensive commercial dataset, but did not influence the outcome or results, Stanford professor Adam Brandt tells Axios. Other funders are listed in this summary.
Read more in the Axios stream here.
Axios' Amy Harder has some notes from the road ... Over omelettes at the governor’s mansion in Olympia, Washington, Democratic Governor Jay Inslee and I talked about his support for a ballot initiative taxing carbon emissions, climate-related lawsuits and more.
Why this matters: Inslee, chair of the Democratic Governors Association, is emerging as a leading progressive politician and critic of President Trump. Excerpts of the interview are below...
Inslee drew a stark contrast between those who vote for and those who vote against a state-wide ballot proposal imposing a fee — others call it a tax — on most major polluting facilities in the state as a way to address climate change.
Inslee offered rather tepid support for lawsuits — including one brought by King County — suing oil companies alleging liability for climate change.
Go deeper: Read Amy's full interview in the Axios stream.
Newly released Energy Information Administration data shows that U.S. CO2 emissions from energy — the overwhelming source — dipped by another roughly 1% last year.
The big picture: "U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions have declined in 7 of the past 10 years, and they are now 14% lower than in 2005."
Yes, but: Check out transportation-related emissions. They're going up, further evidence of something we've written plenty about: Wringing CO2 from transportation is proving harder than cutting power-sector emissions.
Go deeper: California's transportation challenge
The new episode of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy's podcast explores the coming courtroom fights over EPA's Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule.
Why it matters: ACE is EPA's modest draft replacement for the more sweeping Obama-era Clean Power Plan for power industry carbon emissions.
The pod is an interview with attorney Joseph Goffman, a key author of the Obama rule that's being jettisoned. So he's not a neutral source. But Goffman offers a compelling look at the fault lines.
The intrigue: Once the court battle over ACE and repealing the Obama plan begins, he says Trump's team faces a tough decision about whether they should try and limit the options of the next EPA to write more aggressive mandates.
Goffman says Trump's EPA has two basic options...
The bottom line:
"If the case comes up under the first option, if the agency goes for broke and tries to persuade the court that there is only one interpretation, and if the court agrees, then that will all but close off the path for a future administration to look at a system-wide approach," Goffman says.
E&E News looks at what yesterday's Senate hearing revealed about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's views toward regulations.
Why it matters: Administrative action is where it's at when it comes to U.S. climate policy, given that emissions legislation is in a deep, deep freeze in Congress.
What's next: There's a good chance that a battle over the scope EPA's power to regulate CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act could again come before the court, even though the agency's underlying authority isn't likely to upended.
Go deeper: The climate stakes of Kennedy's exit
Exxon: Per Reuters, "ExxonMobil Corp said on Thursday it has signed a preliminary deal to build a petrochemical complex and invest in a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in China, the latest major foreign investment in the world’s top chemicals market."
Tesla: The Canadian Press reports that Walmart is expanding its pre-orders for Tesla's electric semi-truck, which is not yet in production.
Offshore wind: Via the Financial Times, "Orsted, the Danish energy company, has completed the world’s largest offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea, a multi-billion pound project that sets a new milestone as wind farms become bigger and more powerful."
Batteries: Greentech Media reports on the growth of residential storage. "For the first time ever, the U.S. saw more home energy storage than front-of-meter storage deployed in a single quarter."