Good morning! With Axios' Smart Brevity, we keep you quickly informed even on your vacation! Today's count: 1,205 words/ < 5 minute read.
My latest column is the first of a two-parter, writing what I describe as the layman's guide to what makes climate change such a difficult problem. I'll share that, and then Ben Geman will get you up to speed on other news.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Democratic presidential hopefuls are calling for aggressive action to reduce heat-trapping emissions, while nations are facing pressure to ramp up commitments ahead of a major United Nations summit next month.
The big picture: Despite that fervor, progress on climate change remains elusive. We have cultivated a deep dependence on fossil fuels that has been driving Earth’s temperature up for more than a century, creating a problem whose mostly negative impacts are unfolding over more centuries.
This column and next week’s edition will try to distill what makes this such a uniquely difficult problem — with today's focusing on the global problem plus time and cost dissonance.
Global (in)action: This just might be the world’s greatest collective action problem.
Time disconnect: Enacting policies today to cut GHG emissions won’t have a discernible impact on global warming for decades, if not centuries.
Pay now and pay later: Climate change presents two separate costs.
Read the whole thing, and next week’s column will tackle our stubborn — yet effective — energy system.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The payment tech company Stripe plans to fund direct removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and its long-term storage.
Why it matters: Experts in carbon removal methods, such as direct air capture and large-scale forest creation, call the announcement a milestone in corporate climate initiatives.
The big picture: A UN-led scientific report in 2018 concluded that pathways for holding temperature rise to 1.5 °C require some level of carbon removal — not just steeply cutting and preventing emissions.
Driving the news: Late last week Stripe said it's soliciting information from parties looking to commercialize various techniques. There's at least 3 types of ongoing projects they might fund...
By the numbers: "We expect that the best price will initially be very high: almost certainly more than $100 per tCO2, as compared to the $8 per tCO2 we pay for offsets," Stripe's Christian Anderson said in his post announcing the plan.
What's next: Anderson said Stripe planned to select an "initial solution to purchase" in the third quarter.
"It's breathtaking and audacious, and very much worth doing," says Julio Friedmann, a former DOE official now with a Columbia University energy think tank.
Stripe "is the first tech company I've seen talk publicly about going beyond net zero emissions to achieve net 'negative' emissions in order to be a climate leader," says Noah Deich, executive director of the group Carbon180, via Twitter.
One level deeper: I asked Deich about whether a $1 million annual commitment really matters. His reply...
The bottom line: "If every tech company over $1 billion in valuation joined Stripe at this $1 million/year level, it would make an enormous difference in the pace of negative emissions technology innovation and development," Deich says.
Over the weekend Tesla launched a new program to enable customers to rent solar panel systems.
Why it matters: This is Tesla's latest effort to bolster its struggling solar business lines.
Driving the news: Rental of systems ranging from 3.8–11.4 kilowatts are available in 6 states — Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Mexico.
The big picture: Per TechCrunch, "Once among the largest installers of renewables in the country through SolarCity, Tesla has seen its share of the market decline significantly since its acquisition of SolarCity three years ago."
How it works: Tesla, on the program's web page, touted the ability to get solar systems "without upfront costs or decades-long agreements."
Go deeper: Tesla's relaunched solar power efforts include $50 panel rentals (Engadget)
Lobbying: A multi-company coalition called the Permian Strategic Partnership has tapped the CGCN Group for federal lobbying, a newly posted filing shows.
Markets: Via Reuters, "Crude oil prices rose on Monday following a weekend attack on a Saudi oil facility by Yemeni separatists and as traders looked for signs that Sino-U.S. trade tensions could ease."
Shell: Union workers at Royal Dutch Shell's Pennsylvania petrochemical plant were given the option of attending President Trump's address there last week or miss out on wages, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first reported Saturday. Read more.
Vineyard Wind, the company trying to build an 800 megawatt wind farm off the Massachusetts coast, has recently tapped 2 new firms for outside lobbying.
Why it matters: The effort to develop the country's first large-scale offshore wind project has hit rough waters thanks to delays in a crucial Interior Department review.
Vineyard Wind is co-owned by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Iberdrola's Avangrid Renewables.
Go deeper: Feds’ delay puts crucial tax credit in jeopardy for Vineyard Wind (Boston Globe)