Happy Friday! Today's Smart Brevity: 1,254 words, < 5 minutes.
Situational awareness: Via CNN, "Hundreds of thousands of young people worldwide are joining marches and climate strikes today. This is the third such worldwide climate rally — and it may be the biggest day of climate demonstrations in history."
And 45 years ago, Barry White was just hitting #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with today's legendary intro tune...
Google campus in Mountain View, Calif. Photo: Amy Osborne/AFP/Getty Images
Amazon unveiled sweeping new energy and climate plans yesterday. Hours later Google announced its biggest renewable power buys ever.
Why it matters: The announcements by 2 of the world's biggest companies are stark signs that corporate giants are getting more aggressive about climate change.
But, but, but: Corporate commitments won't change the underlying trend of global carbon emissions on track to bring warming that blows past the Paris Agreement's temperature goals.
The big picture: The White House pullback combined with growing public and investor pressures have triggered new climate pledges and policies by "subnational" players — cities, states and companies.
What they found: The report, which is from multiple organizations including the NewClimate Institute and Data-Driven EnviroLab, says global emissions in 2030 would be 1.2-2 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent lower than national policies alone if plans by "subnational" players in the world's 10 largest economies are fully implemented.
Catch up fast: Ok with that off my chest, let's look at what Amazon and Google actually rolled out.
Let's spend more time with one part of Amazon's initiative: plans to deploy 10,000 electric delivery vans made by the startup Rivian as soon as 2022, and 100,000 by 2030 and perhaps much faster.
Why it matters: It's a major sign that that deep-pocketed players see Rivian as well positioned among the EV startups to cross the bridge into substantial commercial production.
“It means we have a new automaker, for real.”— Gartner analyst Mike Ramsey, speaking to Bloomberg
But, but, but: One chunk of salt about Amazon's 100,000 vehicle order: Rivian has yet to begin commercial production of any EVs. Yet Amazon — which led a $700 million investment round in the company earlier this year — plans to start deploying them in 2021.
How it works: Per Wired, "Amazon’s vans will use the same battery, powertrain, and electrical network as the two consumer vehicles Rivian plans to start building next year, the $69,000 R1T pickup truck and $72,500 R1S SUV."
Where it stands: Earlier this month Rivian snagged a $350 million equity investment from Cox Automotive, a big industry data and information company.
What they're saying: "Amazon doesn't make decisions like this lightly," Navigant Research analyst Sam Abuelsamid tells the Detroit News.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
NEW YORK — Climate activists are rallying here and around the world today calling for urgent action curbing carbon emissions, while a controversial but carbon-free nuclear power plant 180 miles away quietly goes offline, Axios' Amy Harder reports.
The big picture: It’s an ironic moment. Nuclear power provides America — and the world — with one of the largest sources of carbon-free electricity.
Driving the news:
By the numbers:
Growth of renewable power capacity resumed in 2019 after stalling last year, the International Energy Agency said in an estimate Friday morning.
Why it matters: Last year was the first time since 2001 that growth was flat, the agency said. But IEA estimates that capacity additions this year will grow almost 12% to nearly 200 gigawatts.
Threat level: Despite the growth, it's not consistent with keeping warming in check, IEA warns.
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Speaking of renewables, the consultancy Rystad Energy flags an interesting milestone: Wind power is about to outpace coal in Texas.
The Democratic 2020 hopeful had some pointed words in an interview with HuffPost...
"Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) compared Democrats who oppose nuclear energy to Republican climate science deniers, highlighting a growing rift in the party over the nation’s biggest source of emissions-free electricity."
Why it matters: As reporter Alexander Kaufman notes, it's one of the sharpest criticisms of anti-nuclear stances in the primary battle, and "grazes a particularly sensitive nerve in the climate policy debate."
The big picture: Booker is echoing view among many analysts that decarbonizing power relatively fast would be extraordinarily tough if plants are closing, and that construction of next-wave reactors should be an option.
“As much as we say the Republicans when it comes to climate change must listen to science, our party has the same obligation to listen to scientists."— Cory Booker, to HuffPost
The intrigue: It highlights a sharp energy policy split between Booker, who is lagging in the polls, and anti-nuclear positions of Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who are much closer to frontrunner Joe Biden.
Saudi Arabia is "pressuring" rich families to buy into the planned IPO of state oil giant Aramco in order to hit Prince Mohammed bin Salman's hoped-for valuation, according to anonymous sources in the Financial Times ($).
The intrigue: "Eight people familiar with the talks said they were part of a plan to build confidence in the Saudi Aramco deal, which has been rocked by last weekend’s devastating attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure," they report.