Good morning. Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,274 words, ~ 5 minutes.
And tomorrow will mark the 1975 release date of Paul Simon's album "Still Crazy After All These Years," which provides today's opening tune...
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The battle between the Trump administration and California over climate policy went to 11 yesterday (for anyone who hasn't seen the movie "Spinal Tap," that means it escalated a lot).
Driving the news: The Justice Department, in a new lawsuit, alleges the state's emissions-trading system is an unconstitutional foray into the federal government's foreign affairs role thanks to the state's partnership with the Canadian province of Quebec.
Why it matters: Per Axios' Amy Harder, if the lawsuit succeeds, it could limit states’ abilities to collaborate with foreign countries on policies whose impacts don’t follow borders — like climate change.
One big question: Whether the move has any chance of success. Attorney David Bookbinder, a veteran of legal battles over global warming, called it "pure petty harassment" in an email exchange.
But, but, but: Jonathan Adler, a prominent conservative attorney with the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, said via Twitter that DOJ is presenting strong arguments.
"Whatever one thinks of DOJ's motivations in California lawsuits, concern for constitutionality of state-level climate agreements has been brewing for quite some time," he said.
The big picture: It's the latest move in the wider battle between the administration and California on climate and environmental policy. Other fronts include:
Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Contributor/Getty Images
Tesla had a good night, and now the question is whether it's a new day for the pioneering but volatile electric automaker that kicked off the push to move EVs toward the mainstream.
Driving the news: Tesla surprised Wall Street with a $143 million third-quarter profit on Wednesday evening, and announced plans to ramp up vehicle production at its China factory sooner than expected, Axios' Courtenay Brown reported.
What they're saying: Via AP, Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives called it a "jaw dropper" and also said: “The Street wanted profitability and Tesla delivered in big fashion.”
Why it matters: Tesla's recent cash-losing streak is over, though the company turned a bigger profit in 2018's Q3 with $311 million, and the company talked up its cost-controlling efforts.
However, Tesla also saw its first annual revenue drop since 2012, as it sells more of its lower-priced Model 3 vehicles and fewer higher-priced models, Courtenay noted.
But, but, but: Tesla has yet to prove it can be consistently profitable, and it's facing rising competition as legacy automakers and startups alike roll out new models.
Go deeper: Tesla Delivers a Surprising Profit (Wall Street Journal)
Green financial instruments continue to see widespread adoption and diversification, in terms of both instruments and geographies, Axios Markets Editor Dion Rabouin reports.
What's happening: Total green and sustainability debt issuance in 2019 is poised to double levels from 2017 and will be almost four times the level issued as recently as 2016, according to projections from the Institute of International Finance.
Dion has a bit more in his Axios Markets newsletter, which you can sign up for here.
President Trump is making life more complicated for climate change advocates and K street alike — in ways obvious and sometimes less so.
Driving the news: The climate world was abuzz yesterday at reports that Trump will imminently begin the one-year process to bail on the Paris agreement.
The big picture: Trump's climate stances — with the Paris move, pulling back regulations and rejecting consensus science — have shifted K Street's tectonic plates.
My thought bubble: Here's one of the subtle ways Trump is making things more complicated for climate advocates in some respects:
Where it stands: There was no sign of that formal withdrawal notification when Trump spoke at a shale energy conference in Pennsylvania yesterday.
Climate: The oil-and-gas giant Total said Thursday that it's boosting its venture funding for startups seeking to commercialize climate-friendly technologies.
California: Via The San Francisco Chronicle, "As it cut power Wednesday to 178,000 customer accounts, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. was already looking ahead to its next blackout after it received an alarming forecast: Winds this weekend could be worse than those that drove the deadly 2017 Wine Country fires."
Earnings: Per Reuters, "Norway’s Equinor reported a bigger-than-expected drop in its third-quarter profit on Thursday, dented by a significant decline in the volume and price of natural gas sold to Europe."
That's the number of consecutive weeks that the U.S. has been a net exporter of petroleum products on a 4-week average basis, per Energy Information Administration data released Wednesday.
Why it matters: EIA analyst Mason Hamilton noted via Twitter that it's the first time the U.S. has been a net exporter by that metric. It has previously happened for shorter stretches.
"The era of U.S. net petroleum exports HAS BEGUN! (or at least is highly like to)," he noted on his personal account.
The big picture: The U.S. emergence as a net exporter of petroleum products — the combo of crude oil, gasoline, natural gas plant liquids, diesel and more — on an ongoing basis has been forecast for some time.
On some level, it's an arbitrary metric, because the U.S. still imports millions of barrels of crude oil per day. But the amounts have fallen as U.S. production has surged over the last decade.
The bottom line: While the U.S. has long shipped lots of products like gasoline abroad, declining crude oil imports and rising crude exports have enabled the inflection point.