Good morning and welcome back after a brief break! I'll share a glimpse of my latest Harder Line column and then Ben Geman will take over for the rest.
Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,212 words, < 5 minutes.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Forget renewable energy for a moment. To really fight climate change, the world needs to focus far more on cutting its use of oil, natural gas and coal.
The big picture: Like adding salad to your pasta doesn’t help you lose weight, adding cleaner energy to a world run on fossil fuels won’t cut greenhouse gas emissions. Yet that’s what we’re doing now.
Driving the news: This is the biggest upshot of a new climate-change simulator the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and think tank Climate Interactive will unveil Tuesday, and which I viewed ahead of time.
Reality check: To lose weight, you need to cut (at least some of) the pasta and replace it with something healthier (maybe a salad).
“The climate doesn’t just need wind and solar. It needs us to not burn coal, oil, and natural gas.”— Andrew Jones, co-founder, Climate Interactive
One level deeper: Among the solutions included in the simulator, the one that goes the furthest to cut emissions is also among the least politically viable — a carbon price, which inevitably increases the cost of fossil fuels.
What’s next: We'll have a full Axios-curated interactive for you in Tuesday’s Generate when MIT and Climate Interactive unveil their work.
OPEC and Russia (among other allied producers) will gather in Vienna late this week to decide the future of their supply-limiting deal.
Why it matters: The OPEC+ group is struggling to prop up prices amid growing supplies from the U.S. and elsewhere, as well as rather soft demand and trade conflicts.
Where it stands: The current pact, which curbs output by 1.2 million barrels per day, runs through March. Officials will debate whether to continue the existing pact or modify it.
What's new: The latest headwinds for the cartel blew in this morning when President Trump said he's restoring tariffs on steel and aluminum from Brazil and Argentina.
The intrigue: The latest gathering comes as Saudi Arabia is on the cusp of the long-awaited IPO of state oil giant Aramco.
Go deeper: OPEC+ faces decision on oil cuts, with few good options beyond extension (S&P Global Platts)
A big United Nations climate summit opens today in Madrid, Spain.
Why it matters: It follows fresh reports in recent days showing how the world is far off track from even beginning the steep emissions cuts needed to meet the Paris Agreement's goals.
What we're watching: Negotiators will be trying to tackle outstanding decisions about how to implement the Paris deal. A big one is rules for international carbon credit markets.
The big picture: More broadly, the summit is aimed at pushing big polluters to raise their ambition ahead of submitting revised emissions pledges next year.
The intrigue: The Trump administration, which is abandoning the agreement, is not sending high-profile officials or top White House aides to the talks.
Los Angeles officials and partners launched a low-carbon transportation plan that's aimed, among other things, at having EVs account for 80% of vehicles sold and 30% of vehicles on the road in 2028.
Why it matters: The "roadmap" unveiled last week is the latest effort among major cities to move toward more climate-friendly transit options.
But, but, but: Check out the chart above, which shows that L.A. has a long ways to go. It's drawn from data in this Nov. 21 International Council on Clean Transportation report about how different cities are seeking to electrify driving.
What's next: Heavy lifting. The L.A. plan unveiled by multistakeholder Transportation Electrification Partnership calls for crafting policy details over the next year.
ICYMI, former Secretary of State John Kerry is launching a coalition of high-profile names — including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Leonardo DiCaprio — aimed at building public support for tougher steps against global warming.
The big picture: The "World War Zero" coalition is designed to evoke the widespread mobilization that the organizers emphasize is needed to combat global warming.
Who they are: Others involved in the effort include...
By the numbers: The initial launch will feature a $500,000 paid media effort. But Kerry tells Emily Atkin, author of the climate newsletter Heated, that they've raised "several million dollars" and plan to raise more.
What's next: Founding members will begin town hall meetings in January that will last through 2020.
Go deeper: John Kerry launches star-studded climate coalition (New York Times)