Good morning! First things first: I inaccurately characterized a poll in yesterday's edition. The updated item is here.
Situational awareness: "Volkswagen AG aims to produce almost 50 percent more electric cars than it previously targeted, boosting a bet that has already strained profit margins," Bloomberg reports.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
HOUSTON — A huge gathering of oil industry titans underscores the gulf between their blueprint for the transition to cleaner energy sources and the demands of activists wielding new influence in Democratic politics and European debates.
Where it stands: Major executives at the big CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference here acknowledge the industry has to change with the times.
What they're saying:
The other side: The sentiment here is a sharp contrast to the activism that's on display from youth-led movements in Europe to the Democratic primaries in the U.S.
The intrigue: Several moments captured the divide between the conference and where the energy is on the left.
I chatted with Maarten Wetselaar, a senior Shell exec, about whether they will increase the $1 billion to $2 billion per year they're investing until 2020 in low-carbon efforts.
The bottom line: I asked former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz about the tenor of the conference compared to where things stand on the left.
My thought bubble: Despite the chasm between activists and the industry, both groups stand well apart from President Trump on climate change. A tweet this morning displayed, again, Trump's rejection of the scientific consensus on human-caused warming.
HOUSTON — Facing investor pressure, one of America’s biggest oil producers has committed to setting targets to reduce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from its oil and gas wells, Axios' Amy Harder reports.
Why it matters: The move by Houston-based EOG Resources represents the latest in a growing trend of oil companies working with investors on increasing transparency and committing to addressing climate change.
The big picture: Annual shareholder meetings are becoming an alternative battleground on climate as the Trump administration abandons or weakens Obama-era federal policies.
Where it stands: EOG's plan to set methane emissions targets stems from a previously unreported agreement between the company and Trillium Asset Management, which uses shareholder advocacy to push companies to get more aggressive on climate change.
HOUSTON — I caught up with Lamar McKay, BP's deputy chief executive, to chat about the company's venture and low-carbon strategies.
Where it stands: BP Ventures is mix of equity investments, acquisitions, and collaborations in technologies like fast battery charging, advanced monitoring of oil-and-gas operations, artificial intelligence and more.
What's next: That $500 million figure could get higher. “We hope it grows going forward. We think it will. ... We see a lot of opportunity,” he said.
China: BP recently made a venture move in China via an investment in PowerShare, a digital platform that connects EV drivers, charging station operators and power suppliers.
What I didn't know is that BP has set up a small venture office in the country to sniff out other opportunities.
Carbon removal tech: McKay said BP Ventures is exploring frontier technologies for removing CO2 from the atmosphere. I asked about tech for removing CO2 at the early stages, such as via direct air capture, soil-based techniques and more.
Axios' Andrew Freedman reports ... Researchers studying the potential consequences of dispersing tiny particles into the upper atmosphere, where they would reflect incoming solar radiation and offset global warming, have come up with a way to avoid producing ill effects in some regions, such as drought.
Why it matters: Solar geoengineering, which would involve dispersing sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere, is viewed as a possible way to offset some of the global warming that would result from doubling the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere compared to preindustrial levels.
What's new: The study, published Monday in Nature Climate Change, finds that this futuristic fix is neither the panacea that some advocates portray it to be nor is it an option that would automatically cause significant harm to some parts of the globe.
Gender: Bloomberg reports that just 16% of the speakers at this week-long event are women. "It’s a reflection in part of the lack of female executives in oil and natural gas," Rachel Adams-Heard writes.
Markets: Via Reuters, "U.S. oil production could become less responsive to crude prices as major oil companies take a larger share of the nation’s shale output from smaller independent producers, International Energy Agency officials said at an industry summit on Monday."
EPA and cars: EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, in an interview with the Washington Examiner, shuts the door on further talks with California over auto mileage and efficiency rules.
Axios Expert Voices contributor David Livingston breaks down the news that a House Democrat on the committee that oversees trade policy is expected to send a letter asking the Commerce Department to investigate whether “imports of carbon emissions” pose a national security threat.
The big picture: The maneuver by Rep. Bill Pascrell, first reported by Politico, highlights a new tactic among climate hawks: treating Trump's aggressive use of executive powers as a template for action.
Where it stands: Pascrell's request cites the authority granted under Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, which Trump availed himself of to justify the imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from a variety of countries, including key U.S. allies.
Why it matters: This isn't the first, nor will it be the last, such maneuver. Trump's declaration of a "national emergency" to fund a wall along the Southern border could set a precedent for a similar declaration around climate change.
Livingston is the lead for climate and advanced energy and deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center.