Good morning! Today's Smart Brevity count: 984 words, ~ 4 minutes.
And this week in 1973, The Wailers released "Burnin'," which provides today's classic intro tune...
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The total absence of energy and climate questions in last night's Democratic debate didn't prevent the topics from surfacing in noteworthy ways onstage and in the surrounding hubbub.
1. Some campaigns saw an opening. Bernie Sanders wove climate into several answers and attacked fossil fuel CEOs who "know full well that their product is destroying this world."
And billionaire activist Tom Steyer was clearly going to say something about climate — a big focus of his work — in the low-polling hopeful's first debate.
During a stretch about Russia, Steyer pivoted to call climate "the most important international problem that we're facing."
Between the lines: I doubt this was spontaneous. Moments after his comments, Steyer's campaign emailed around his international climate plan released last month.
2. Elizabeth Warren wants to break up big oil. That goal arrived in passing when she was asked about her goal of breaking up tech giants.
"We need to enforce our antitrust laws, break up these giant companies that are dominating, big tech, big pharma, big oil, all of them," said Warren.
3. People are mad. Lots of activists and some journalists (among others) bashed debate hosts CNN and The New York Times for asking nothing, given the extraordinary stakes.
And Washington Post media analyst Erik Wemple said via Twitter: "Tonight's proceedings are sounding like a convincing argument that there really should be a dedicated climate-change debate."
Warren's campaign tells me that one of her existing policy proposals would create pressure on major oil-and-gas companies to splinter.
The intrigue: They pointed to her legislation that would require detailed disclosures from publicly traded companies about climate change.
Under her bill, filings with securities regulators would describe risks to the company from policies that would force steep emissions cuts consistent with holding global temperature rise to 1.5°C.
Why it matters: The campaign argues that this would lead to so-called stranded oil and natural gas reserves that would create big financial liabilities for energy companies.
The idea of stranded assets is controversial and beyond the scope of this blurb! And achieving emissions cuts consistent with 1.5°C is looking quite unlikely.
But those huge caveats aside, the campaign argues that this risk would push companies to break apart.
What they're saying: "If oil companies are required to disclose this information to investors, there will be enormous investor pressure on these companies to break up so that the non-fossil fuel parts of these companies would not be taken down by likely losses in the fossil fuel parts," Warren's campaign said.
A new International Energy Agency analysis looks at carbon emissions from the global growth in SUV sales and calls it "nothing short of surprising."
Why it matters: Wringing carbon out of transportation is vital to fighting climate change — and that's going to be harder if SUV sales keep growing fast.
The big picture: SUVs were the second-biggest contributor to CO2 emissions growth after electric power during the period from 2010 to 2018, the analysis shows.
SUV growth is eclipsing gains from improving mileage in smaller vehicles and the emergence of EVs (which are currently a tiny slice of global sales), IEA said.
Threat level: "If consumers’ appetite for SUVs continues to grow at a similar pace seen in the last decade, SUVs would add nearly 2 million barrels a day in global oil demand by 2040, offsetting the savings from nearly 150 million electric cars," IEA said.
By the numbers: There are over 200 million SUVs on the roads worldwide, up from roughly 35 million in 2010, according to IEA.
Oil: Bloomberg looks at signs piling up that the U.S. shale surge is losing steam. "America’s shale boom got the world accustomed to soaring production. Now growth has slowed, and a cloud has formed over the industry," it reports.
Climate: The Financial Times ($) reports that developers hoping to use expanded tax credits for carbon capture projects are facing a big hurdle: time.
"[T]he clock is ticking for prospective projects as the US tax authority takes months to write rules for the programme. New projects using the credit, known as 45Q after its chapter of the tax code, must start construction before January 1, 2024," they report about rules for credits available via the 2-year-old tax law.
Utilities: Via The San Francisco Chronicle, "PG&E Corp. has lined up more than $34 billion in debt financing to help with its plan to exit bankruptcy protection and pay victims of the deadly wildfires caused by its power lines."
Aramco IPO: Per Bloomberg, "Advisers working on Saudi Aramco’s mammoth share sale may split a fee pool of as much as $450 million, according to people with knowledge of the matter, making it one of the biggest IPO pay outs globally."
I've just discovered an amazing collection of images from the U.S. Geological Survey's Earth Resources Observation and Science Center.