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Today marks 30 years since Madonna released the album "Like a Prayer," so her best song ever is today's intro track...
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Carbon Engineering brought in $68 million worth of private equity, which will enable the Canada-based company to commercialize technology that pulls carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, Axios' Amy Harder reports.
Why it matters: It's the biggest private investment to date into a company seeking to deploy "direct air capture" systems, the company said Thursday.
What they’re saying: Carbon Engineering says its machine — which includes a giant fan — will be able to capture CO2 at less than $100 a ton. Its CEO says that's the cheapest price any company of its kind has achieved (only a small handful of such companies exist).
“There has been a lot of discussion around how [this technology] costs too much. What you’re seeing here is clear evidence that is not the case. This is financially sensible and ready to go to market.”— Steve Oldham, CEO, Carbon Engineering
Where it stands:
One level deeper:
What we're watching: The company will announce later this year the sites of 2 commercial plants, with at least 1 in North America, per Oldham. One of its investors, Jim McDermott of Rusheen Capital Management, says the cost curve will drop, much like what happened with solar energy as more plants are built.
Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee, who is running a climate-focused White House campaign, is sharing more of his thinking about his platform and approach as the Democratic primary race heats up.
Why it matters: The Democratic party is debating the best method of tackling human-caused global warming and other climate problems, including whether to embrace the Green New Deal resolution fully or partially.
Where it stands: Inslee shared more of his thinking about his platform with reporters yesterday while in Washington, D.C., for an American Council on Renewable Energy event. He said a detailed platform is still weeks away, but offered some clues.
1. Inslee offered hints that his climate and energy platform won't be constructed around a single big idea analogous to Medicare for All. Instead look for a constellation of policies.
2. His comments on the filibuster suggest a lot of his platform will require legislation, not just administrative action.
3. Inslee's basic jobs message is that what he's calling for is already happening — the country just needs more of it.
4. Inslee places more emphasis on the role of the private sector than some advocates of the GND, although he praises the concept.
My thought bubble: That sounds a lot like the rationale for policies like clean power targets that lots of states have imposed and federal lawmakers — like Inslee, a former congressman who's worked on climate problems for decades — have unsuccessfully pushed nationally.
A federal district judge has ruled that the Interior Department under President Obama failed to "adequately quantify the climate change impacts" of oil-and-gas lease auctions spanning 300,000 acres in Wyoming.
Why it matters: The March 19 ruling that made the rounds yesterday says Interior can't allow drilling on those leases while it undertakes a court-ordered review emissions that could stem from the leasing decisions.
What they're saying:
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Speaking of oil-and-gas leasing, yesterday's Gulf of Mexico lease auction drew $244 million in high bids.
Ford: Via The Wall Street Journal, "Ford Motor Co. is increasing its bet on electric cars, saying Wednesday it will convert a second North American plant to build plug-in models even as demand for the technology remains weak in the U.S."
Volvo: Per Reuters, "Volvo Cars expects its margins on electric cars to match those of vehicles with combustion engines by 2025, the head of the Chinese-owned Swedish carmaker told Reuters."
Fisker: From The Verge, "Henrik Fisker, the man behind the ill-fated Tesla-challenging Karma hybrid sports car and current CEO of Fisker Inc., has announced a new electric SUV with 'close to 300 miles' of range that will start 'below $40,000.'"
Anthony Pugliese has resigned as chief of staff for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency said yesterday. He'd been in the role since August of 2017.
What's next: Pugliese tweeted yesterday that he's "excited for my next challenge & opportunity - continuing the American model of energy for the world. Stay tuned!"
The intrigue: Via Utility Dive, "Pugliese stoked controversy last year for making political comments in the media and implying FERC was working with the Department of Energy on a support package for coal and nuclear plants."
Cities are adopting tolling and closed-loop shuttle buses to mitigate traffic, to integrate AVs into public transit, and to prepare for the possibility that AVs used in ride-hailing could exacerbate urban congestion, writes Axios Expert Voices contributor Jim Barbaresso.
What we're watching: Two tools for managing traffic could be especially helpful when AVs are eventually deployed, and could complement existing efforts.
Congestion pricing, as New York has proposed, uses tolling to dissuade vehicles from entering certain districts during select hours.
Optimization software can distribute vehicles across various routes, like Waze does today, to help alleviate congestion.
Read more of the full post.
Barbaresso is SVP of intelligent transportation systems at HNTB, an infrastructure advisory firm.