Good morning and welcome back! I'll share a glimpse of my column, one of several in my ad hoc series on personal behavior, and then I'll hand things over to Ben Geman for the rest.
Smart Brevity count: 1,219 words, < 5 minutes.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: John Lamparski, Inga Kjer, Michael Buckner, Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
Not all carbon footprints are created equally.
Driving the news: Famous, rich and activist people face acute scrutiny given their ability to influence the masses. With that in mind, I explored the travel and consumption habits of four notable people supporting action on climate change.
Why it matters: Individual behavior tackling climate change is getting greater attention as inaction on the matter persists among governments. A peer-reviewed study found that people are more likely to listen to others calling for action on climate change if they personally have lower carbon footprints.
Read the highlights below and click here to read my full column.
1. Greta Thunberg. A core part of the Swedish teenager’s message is how she eschews activities emitting a lot of greenhouse gas emissions, most notably flying (she’s also vegan). She sailed to and from Europe on carbon-free sailing boats over the course of weeks.
3. Al Gore. “He recognizes how important these everyday choices are, while spending most of his time working to catalyze a global effort to change laws and policies,” a Gore spokesperson said.
4. Bill McKibben. As founder of the grassroots environmental group 350.org, McKibben is one of the world’s most polarizing, prolific and vocal environmental activists.
Oil markets: The International Energy Agency will release its monthly market analysis on Thursday, which includes closely watched estimates for global demand growth.
Climate change: This is the second and final week of the big annual UN climate meeting, which is unfolding this year in Madrid.
Energy policy: European Union leaders could reach an agreement at their Dec. 12–13 meeting for making the bloc a net-zero greenhouse gas emitter by 2050, per multiple reports.
The upshot of the revised OPEC+ deal seems to be that they've kept a floor under prices for now and even pushed them up, but they've hardly juiced the market.
Catch up fast: OPEC and allied producers including Russia on Friday deepened their production-limiting deal by 500,000 barrels per day as they seek to prevent a glut. But there was a twist: Saudi Arabia pledged to continue with a voluntary output cut of another 400,000 daily barrels.
Where it stands: Brent crude is trading down at roughly $63.79 this morning, slipping after a $1-per-barrel rise Friday that capped several days of gains as officials met to discuss production cuts.
What they're saying: Barclays analysts, in a note, called the cut "surprisingly deep."
Mike Bloomberg today will announce a climate week that kicks off with the campaign's first ad on climate change, Axios' Mike Allen reports.
A record amount of U.S. natural gas was released or burned at oil-and-gas well sites last year, EIA data shows.
Why it matters: The report Friday on venting and flaring is latest sign of the oil industry's struggle to rein in climate-warming gases as U.S. oil production surges.
What they found: Venting and flaring combined averaged a record 1.28 billion cubic feet per day in 2018.
Where it stands: Oil wells in North Dakota and Texas, the heart of the U.S. boom, produce "associated" gas volumes that producers are sometimes unable to capture.
What they're saying: The increase in Texas and North Dakota is "pretty shocking," per Daniel Raimi, an energy expert with the think tank Resources for the Future.
Utilities: Pacific Gas & Electric reached a $13.5 billion settlement with victims of the 2017 and 2018 California wildfires that killed dozens of people and ravaged homes and businesses, Axios writes.
Elon Musk: Tesla CEO Elon Musk prevailed in a jury trial on Friday over whether his tweets calling a cave expert a "pedo guy" constitute defamation, and he will not be held liable for damages, according to multiple media reports.