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1 big thing: Green group pitches young voters on Biden record

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Exclusive: The League of Conservation Voters is launching a $2.6 million digital ad buy that promotes President Biden's Arctic anti-drilling efforts to young audiences.

Why it matters: Young voters were a key part of Biden's 2020 coalition, but some progressives have expressed misgivings about key elements of Biden's record — including approval of ConocoPhillips' Willow oil project in Alaska, and the White House's posture on Israel.

  • LCV points to polling that shows a lack of awareness about Biden's climate efforts.
  • With the general election expected to be tight and hard-fought, the incumbent needs all the support he can get.

State of play: The ads out today appear in four swing states — Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — plus Delaware and D.C.

  • The 30-second spots touting Arctic protection are running as non-skippable ads on YouTube, as well as streaming platforms like Hulu and Amazon Prime.
  • In one ad called "Natural Wonders," a narrator says "oil and gas drilling would devastate this fragile habitat and its wildlife," and thanks Biden for "historic protection."

Catch up quick: LCV points to Biden's April decision to protect 13 million acres of Alaskan arctic acres, including an outright ban on new oil and gas leases on 10.6 million acres.

  • "Not enough people know just how much President Biden has already done to stand up to Big Oil by taking action to lower costs and protect these special areas in the Arctic from oil and gas drilling," Pete Maysmith, LCV's senior VP of campaigns, in a statement.
  • The LCV spots are part of a much wider climate movement ad push ahead of November's election.

The other side: Industry groups and Republicans say Arctic development can be done safely.

  • Critics say Biden is closing off too much future production and threatening U.S. energy security.
  • His new Arctic protections announced in April also drew a rebuke from Alaska Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola.

The bottom line: Energy is emerging as a major campaign battleground, with presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump vowing to unwind various Biden fossil fuel policies.

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2. Why oil bounced back

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Do call it a comeback. Oil prices have rebounded somewhat after falling sharply early this week on the news of OPEC+ deciding to unwind some production cuts.

Why it matters: Oil prices ripple throughout the economy and have electoral implications. I know that's obvious, but it still bears repeating!

The big picture: Some of yesterday's rise likely stems from OPEC+ ministers talking up their flexibility to pause the plan. Rate cuts by some central banks probably helped too.

State of play: Brent crude traded around $80 early this morning after dipping into the $76 range earlier this week.

What they're saying: Barclays' Amarpreet Singh wrote in a note that markets initially overreacted, and "demand indicators have certainly softened somewhat recently, but are not falling off a cliff."

3. Community solar makes the pie higher*

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

New research shows how a form of shared solar power system is widening access to the sun's energy.

Why it matters: It identifies big demographic differences between people buying into "community" solar vs. rooftop customers.

The big picture: The paper finds that community solar adopters are over six times more likely to live in multifamily buildings than rooftop adopters.

  • They're also 4.4 times more likely to rent their homes and earn 23% less in annual income, a paper in Nature Energy finds, based on an 11-state sample.
  • "These results suggest that community solar has extended solar adoption to communities that would have otherwise struggled to adopt rooftop solar," find the researchers with two DOE labs — Lawrence Berkeley and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Yes, but: "We do not find evidence that community solar has expanded solar access in terms of race."

Catch up quick: With community solar, multiple customers subscribe to power from a specific off-site project and receive credits on their bills.

  • It enables access for people who can't install panels because they live in multiunit buildings or aren't homeowners, or can't afford a system.
  • Community solar is currently around 3.5% of the total U.S. solar capacity, per the Solar Energy Industries Association.
  • The paper finds the variance between adopters stems from differences in business models and policies that promote community solar to low- and moderate-income people.

What we're watching: The researchers "cautiously infer" from the findings that community solar's lower access barriers could be applied to other forms of climate-friendly energy.

* Sorry-not-sorry for the dated, Bush-era headline.

4. Catch up quick on policy: FERC, nukes, carbon removal

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

🗳️ President Biden's three nominees for the powerful Federal Energy Regulatory Commission are slated for Senate floor consideration next week.

  • What we're watching: Given the bipartisan committee approval this week, they're all likely to be confirmed soon, per Axios Pro's Nick Sobczyk.

⚛️ Via Reuters, the U.S. "could revive some of its recently retired nuclear power plants to help meet rising demand for zero-emissions electricity, or add reactors to existing sites, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in an interview."

⚛️ Via Bloomberg, "The Biden administration is stepping up its efforts to support research into fusion energy, saying more financing is needed to meet its bold vision for harnessing the energy of the stars."

🤝 NOAA and the Energy Department have a new agreement to collaborate on marine carbon removal R&D.

  • Why it matters: Emerging removal tech could provide a potent tool against climate change, but big questions about viability and commercial scale remain.

5. 😬 Number of the day: 427 parts per million

That's the seasonal peak CO2 concentration measured at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii, NOAA said.

Why it matters: It's 2.9 parts-per-million above May 2023, the fifth-largest jump in 50 years, per NOAA data.

  • And 2022-2024 brought the largest two-year jump in these May peaks on record.

How it works: That two-year rate stems from high sustained fossil fuel emissions, alongside El Niño conditions limiting global land ecosystems' CO2 absorption, NOAA scientist John Miller said in a statement.

The bottom line: "Not only is CO2 now at the highest level in millions of years, it is also rising faster than ever," said Ralph Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which conducts separate readings at the site.

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🙏 Thanks to Chris Speckhard and Javier E. David for edits to today's edition, along with the brilliant Axios Visuals team.