Good morning! Today's Smart Brevity count: 892 words, < 4 minutes.
Situational awareness: "With two days to go before the scheduled conclusion of the United Nations climate talks in Madrid, envoys from almost 200 nations remain divided about how to bring market mechanisms into reducing greenhouse gas emissions," Bloomberg reports.
Plus, at this moment in 1968, Diana Ross & The Supremes were ending a two-week run atop the Billboard charts with today's terrific intro tune...
Ursula von der Leyen announces the European Green Deal on Dec. 11. Photo: Zheng Huansong/Xinhua via Getty Images
Ursula von der Leyen, the new European Commission president, yesterday unveiled plans for an ambitious "European Green Deal" meant to make the EU a net-zero emitter by 2050.
Why it matters: The EU is the world's third-largest greenhouse gas emitting region after China and the United States.
The big picture: The sweeping plan envisions crafting a new climate law within the next 100 days.
The intrigue: Greentech Media has a good look at the whole thing here and the WSJ has good coverage here. But, I want to talk about just one of the documents released yesterday: a "roadmap" of "key actions" around policy development envisioned in the coming years.
Quick take: Here's why I'm droning on (by Axios standards) about this: It's relevant to the U.S. and the 2020 elections.
My thought bubble: I know this is kind of obvious. But I think it's worth mentioning because lots of attention (including in this newsletter) is paid to candidates' sweeping targets (like net-zero by 2050) and aggregate spending levels (like Bernie Sanders' $16 trillion proposal).
Chevron's eye-popping write-down of natural gas (and some oil) assets earlier this week probably won't be the industry's last move amid a gas supply glut and low prices.
What they're saying: “We expect the trend of write-downs to continue as price outlooks are adjusted down," Wood Mackenzie analyst Tom Ellacott said.
The big picture: I also recommend this column by Bloomberg's Liam Denning, who uses Chevron's move to more widely argue that the industry is in a new era.
A new International Energy Agency report underscores why oil markets haven't been hugely impressed with last week's OPEC+ decision to deepen their output curbs.
Driving the news: The agency's latest closely watched monthly report projects that global oil stockpiles could increase by 700,000 barrels per day in the first quarter of 2020.
Why it matters: The projection is the latest sign of how OPEC is having a hard time exerting its sway amid the U.S. boom and other headwinds.
Where it stands: Brent crude is trading at roughly $63.97 this morning. The report notes that it was at $63-per-barrel on the eve of last week's OPEC+ meeting in Vienna.
The intrigue: The report also notes that the efficacy of the latest production-limiting deal is something of a question mark.
A new piece in The Conversation points to an important but often overlooked source of carbon emissions: leaky power grids that waste energy before it reaches consumers.
What they did: Researchers calculated the pollution from additional energy needed to make up for what's lost in transmission and distribution systems worldwide.
What they found: It's big when you add it all up, as you can see in the chart above.
What's next: They call for greater attention to stemming emissions through use of better tech and infrastructure upgrades.