Good morning. Today's Smart Brevity: 1,143 words, ~ 4 minutes.
And this week in 1976, Stevie Wonder released "Songs in the Key of Life," which provides today's masterpiece of an intro tune...
Remember the Jurassic era of oil markets in, uh, mid-September, when aerial attacks left the Saudis reeling and talk of big geopolitical risk premium was all the rage? Things look rather different now.
Driving the news: Both Brent and WTI prices have come down a lot since soaring after the attacks that initially knocked 5.7 million barrels per day of Saudi production offline. The chart above captures WTI's moves.
Why it matters: The return of prices to nearly pre-attack levels shows the market effect of the Saudi moves to bring back output fast. But it's also a sign that soft economic conditions have reasserted their influence.
What they're saying: “Less than two weeks after the attacks on Saudi Arabia, the oil market has returned to business as usual,” Norbert Ruecker, head of economics at Julius Baer, tells Bloomberg.
What's new: "Oil steadied on Thursday due to optimism that the United States and China could resolve their trade dispute, though prices came under pressure from Saudi Arabia’s moves to restore output quickly after attacks on its oil installations," Reuters writes.
Axios' Amy Harder reports that BP CEO Robert Dudley is signaling that his company is likely to stay in industry trade groups despite differences over climate policy.
What they’re saying: "BP believes that you can influence trade associations and other groups by being a part of them rather than outside of them," Dudley said in an interview this week.
Driving the news: BP Chairman Helge Lund had said earlier this year that BP is reviewing its trade group memberships and will report back to shareholders in 2020.
The big picture: Facing public, investor and legal pressures, oil companies are increasingly backing action on climate change while staying in trade associations whose positions don’t align with that shift.
One level deeper: Dudley said trade groups serve more than one purpose, so it’s beneficial to stay involved.
Flashback: A high-profile example is when BP left the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council in 2015. That group has lost several corporate members due to its position doubting established climate change science.
Canoo, an electric vehicle prototype that will be available by subscription. Photo: Courtesy of Canoo
Electric vehicles, which don't have an engine, transmission or other space-eating components, allow automotive designers the freedom to rethink what a car should be.
What's new: One example is Canoo, which debuted its first vehicle Tuesday night in Los Angeles, Axios' Joann Muller reports.
Why it matters: Canoo reimagines everything about the automobile, including the business model. Instead of buying a Canoo, consumers will only be able to get one via monthly subscription starting in 2021.
Details: Canoo, founded less than 2 years ago, plans to market a 4-model range that will include personal commuter and "lifestyle" vehicles, as well as commercial vehicles for ride and delivery services, according to Reuters.
New research from the Rhodium Group consultancy finds that extension and broadening of federal tax incentives for climate-friendly energy and transportation could yield substantial carbon emissions cuts.
Why it matters: As Rhodium points out, big climate legislation isn't on the menu right now.
What they found: "Extending and expanding tax credits through 2025 for zero-emitting generation including wind, solar or nuclear could achieve reductions of up to 125 million tons compared to current policy in 2025," the note states.
This caught my eye: Mining behemoth Rio Tinto announced a new partnership with China Baowu Steel Group, which is China's largest steel producer, and Tsinghua University on making production more climate-friendly.
Driving the news: Rio Tinto said yesterday that the parties will work together on "identifying a pathway to support the goal of reducing carbon emissions across the entire steel value chain."
Why it matters: The company, citing World Steel Association data, said the entirety of steel development is responsible for 7%–9% of global CO2 emissions.
Research: Via the New York Times, "[B]illionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick are set to announce on Thursday the second-largest donation ever to an American university: $750 million to the California Institute of Technology ... much of it focused on technological solutions to combat climate change."
Regulations: Per Bloomberg, Democratic governors of New Mexico and Minnesota have "lined their up states to join the 13 others in adopting California’s rules to curb automobile greenhouse gas emissions, even after the Trump administration moved to nullify state authority on fuel-efficiency rules."
Activism: Axios' Rebecca Falconer looks at attacks against climate activist Greta Thunberg and the Swedish teenager's response.