Good morning and welcome back!
It's day 2 of our Keith Richards 75th birthday celebration, so he'll play and sing us into the news...
The commentary atop the IEA's monthly oil market report a week ago was headlined "A floor under prices?" and said Brent crude "seems to" have found one around $60-per-barrel.
That question mark, in retrospect, is doing lots of work.
Where it stands: Prices plummeted by several dollars per barrel in trading Tuesday, the latest sign of volatility that's carrying the day despite the OPEC+ efforts to stabilize the market.
Why it matters: The falling prices create challenges for petro-states and could hinder the U.S. shale patch if the doldrums remain.
The big picture: Concerns about a slowdown in economic growth and trade battles eating into demand, the robust amount of crude sloshing around, and broader market woes are all creating downward pressure on prices.
What they're saying: “The market is experiencing price carnage, maximum pain and considerable downside pressure,” Robin Bieber of the brokerage PVM oil tells Reuters.
What's next: Late this morning the Energy Information Administration will release its closely watched weekly data on U.S. oil storage levels.
Nine Northeast and mid-Atlantic states are teaming up to cap and reduce carbon emissions from transportation in the region.
Why it matters: Cars, heavy trucks and other transport have surpassed electricity production as the largest source of U.S. emissions in recent years (check out the chart above).
The big picture: The rough plan announced Tuesday is a stark new example of states pushing ahead with climate initiatives as the White House is dismantling federal policies.
Where it stands: The states are Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia. Washington, D.C., is on board too.
But, but, but: The program design, including the emissions pricing mechanism, isn't yet clear. The states intend to create the specifics of the program over the next year.
A flaring pit near a well in the Bakken Oil Field in North Dakota. Photo: Orjan F. Ellingvag/Corbis via Getty Images
ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest publicly traded oil company, is calling on EPA to regulate emissions of methane from all new and existing oil and natural gas wells across the country, Axios' Amy Harder reports.
Why it matters: Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is the primary component of natural gas and is sometimes purposefully or inadvertently leaked in the production and transport of the fuel, as well as when drilling for oil.
The EPA has been slow in its approach toward rolling back Obama-era methane rules, in part due to industry divisions.
The big picture: Through subsidiary XTO Energy, Exxon is one of America’s biggest producers of gas. It has two reasons to back such a regulation.
Between the lines: This is a subtle evolution in Exxon’s positioning. The company has previously said it backs federal methane regulations, but — until now — had not asked EPA to do so in writing.
What's next: This letter is in response to a technical rollback EPA is undertaking. The agency is expected to propose a broader rollback of the Obama-era rules soon.
China: Quartz looks at plans by the Chinese EV startup Qiantu Motor to break into the U.S. market:
Tech: Fast Company reported today on efforts by the Dutch startup Lightyear to launch an electric car that can charge with solar cells on its roof. From their piece...
Volkswagen: Via Reuters, "Volkswagen may have to step up its plans for mass production of electric vehicles in order to meet tougher-than-expected European targets to cut greenhouse emissions from cars, its chief executive said on Tuesday."
Analysts with the risk advisory firm DNV GL have a good look at what's needed for carbon capture and storage (CCS) tech to make a real contribution to cutting global emissions.
The short answer — a lot.
Why it matters: Their post crossed my screen the day after the International Energy Agency's Monday report on coal sounded the alarm that CCS remains "woefully off-track with what is required for a sustainable energy future."
What they found: "CCS will not advance meaningfully without an extraordinary shift in commercial incentives," analysts Kaare Helle and Anne Louise Koefoed write.
Why? The report says CCS isn't picking up enough speed because...
"The carbon price signal is too weak and/or carbon capture and storage of CO2 emissions are not mandated by law."
"The snowball effect of technology and cost learning curves has not been unleashed, keeping CCS costs high."
What's next: The analysts write that it would have to "start with a bang, not a whimper."
"Government-driven deployment policies (e.g., mandates, technology investment support, operational support as well as carbon pricing) are needed to meet the de-risking needs of projects."
The big picture: IEA sees momentum building, but not nearly enough. Its latest report takes stock of commercial-scale CCS projects that have launched at coal-fired power plants and industrial facilities and what's on the drawing boards.
Go deeper: The disconnect over climate and coal
(h/t to @JesseJenkins for flagging the DNV GL analysis on Twitter.)
Have you been looking for an extended analogy that compares the Paris climate agreement to a low birthweight child with a tough early life and parents with their own problems? Then read on...
Where it stands: Sue Biniaz, a top State Department climate negotiator under Obama, has a detailed post that checks in on the health of the Paris agreement in the wake of last week's UN conference in Poland, where nations agreed to some implementation rules while punting on other decisions.
Here's part of her piece published this week by Harvard's Energy & Environmental Law Program...
"Socially, Paris is thriving. It has had a significant influence on its peers. Its goals are now the common reference points for climate-related efforts, whether or not formally under the Agreement and whether carried out by countries, cities, businesses, or other actors.
"Based on my examination, however, the patient’s longer-term prognosis is uncertain, and continued vitality should not be taken for granted. Proper care and nurturing should be exercised to prevent anemia. In addition, Paris’ parents should work more constructively together to ensure that Paris will thrive."