Good Monday morning, we're almost done with the final lap of 2017, so let's dive in. My latest Harder Line column looks at the clumsy and costly way Congress is picking energy winners with its massive tax bill.
I'll share that, and then Ben will get you up to speed with everything else you need to know.
Congress is doubling down on the least efficient and most expensive way to advance energy and climate policy: through a multi-billion dollar maze of tax subsidies.
Why it matters: The massive tax bill Congress is set to approve this week does little to simplify complicated tax laws that impact the energy industry, keeping intact most energy subsidies totaling tens of billions of dollars. The prospect of a tax on carbon emissions, which would both raise revenue for the federal government and help level the playing field between polluting and non-polluting energy resources, never had a chance.
Read the rest in the Axios stream here.
Big change: The White House will unveil a new national security strategy that, according to multiple reports, will break with the Obama administration by declining to recognize climate change as a threat to national security interests.
Buzz: The New York Times points out that climate will surface in the report in a section on embracing U.S. "energy dominance." The Federalist reported Friday that the strategy will note that "[c]limate policies will continue to shape the global energy system" but will also state:
Why it matters: The report is the latest sign of how the Trump administration, in addition to unwinding domestic global warming rules, has made a sharp rhetorical break with its predecessor when it comes to the geo-politics of climate change.
It also underscores the mixed messages from the administration on how to assess climate change. In written congressional testimony during his confirmation hearing, Defense Secretary James Mattis described risks to U.S. security interests and assets. ProPublica has more on that here.
Offshore action: Statoil said Monday that it's paying Brazilian state oil giant Petrobras $2.9 billion for a 25% stake in an offshore field in the Campos Basin, a move that Statoil said would nearly triple its Brazilian output.
Buckle up: A research note from analysts at RBC Capital Markets takes stock of how the economic crisis and falling crude production in Venezuela, escalating Saudi-Iranian tensions and other geopolitical turmoil could shake oil markets in 2018.
View from Wall Street: This Bloomberg story looks at how six major banks have different estimates of crude prices next year, noting Goldman Sachs is on the bullish side with their Brent price forecast of an average $62 per barrel, while Citigroup's estimate is $54.
New forecast: White House regulatory rollbacks and higher natural gas prices have brightened the mood of the U.S. coal industry, but it still faces major headwinds and production is not headed for a multi-year resurgence, according to the International Energy Agency's just-released five-year global market forecast.
Why it matters: The analysis signals that while White House efforts to revive the coal industry might have some success in limiting its decline, a return to the fuel's once-dominant position isn't in the offing.
The details: IEA projects that U.S. production will be around 510 million tons of coal equivalent in 2022, around the same as current levels. Demand declines around 1% annually but the U.S. remains a "swing supplier" in global markets.
Big picture: Global coal consumption is forecast to see very small growth of around 0.5% annually through 2022, while it loses ground slightly as a share of global energy supply as other sources are tapped to meet rising demand.
See for yourself: The chart above is from this IEA presentation on its annual coal market report.
As the title of the chart suggests, it illustrates how worldwide demand for the fuel is forecast to be largely flat in the coming years, as contraction in demand in the U.S., China and Europe is offset by a growing appetite in India and Asia.
Setting the stage: A White House document circulating within the Trump administration lays out a case for imposing new trade restrictions on imports of solar panel equipment from Asia, according to a report in Politico on Friday evening.
Why it matters: It's the latest sign that President Trump's hawkish trade stance toward China will soon lead to tariffs that U.S. solar energy developers fear will sharply drive up costs and curtail new project development.
We've got more in the Axios stream.
The final version of the GOP tax package that surfaced Friday evening is very likely to pass both chambers this week. Here's a few takeaways...
Renewables: As mentioned in Amy's column (above), the final plan avoids House provisions that would have cut the value of the wind and some solar incentives, and it also omits House language that would have killed credits for electric vehicle purchases.
BEAT: Separately, an 11th-hour change to a Senate tax designed to prevent companies from avoiding liabilities by shifting payments to other countries — called the "Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax" (BEAT) — largely shields renewable power from effects that developers said would have hindered tax equity financing.
A couple more tax notes...
Blow to Georgia nuke project: The final bill omits the extension of the availability of a nuclear power tax credits.
Petroleum: Some "wins" for various companies are the proposed overall corporate tax cut from 35% to 21%, and a provision allowing some companies structured as partnerships to take advantage of deductions for so-called pass-through businesses.