Good morning and welcome back! Thanks as always to my colleague Amy Harder for her contributions to Generate.
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Tesla's second-quarter lobby filing shows that the electric vehicle and solar company is lobbying against a petition by two panel makers — Suniva and SolarWorld — that are asking the Trump administration to impose steep import penalties on solar cells and modules.
The newly revealed lobbying arrives amid wider pushback from several entities like the Energy Trade Action Coalition and Solar Energy Industries Association against the petition, which we wrote about in Generate last week.
Go deeper: Reuters just published an in-depth piece about how even the prospect of new Trump administration solar trade restrictions is affecting the sector.
Overall, Tesla reported $170,000 in total second-quarter lobbying, compared to $190,000 the prior quarter. The Silicon Valley company reported lobbying on a range of EV and energy tax credit and other topics. The sum is relatively modest stuff by Beltway standards.
Coal companies were expected to invest in technology to capture and store carbon emissions over the last decade, but didn't — and that's probably hastening the sector's decline, according to the International Energy Agency chief.
"I thought fossil fuel companies, especially coal companies, would make a major push for the [carbon capture technology], just to protect their businesses [and] investment strategy, not because of climate change," IEA executive director Fatih Birol told Axios last week in Washington. "But they didn't do it." The result, he said, is that global coal consumption has declined for two years in a row.
Why it matters: Birol's comments offer a glimpse into how one of the most powerful energy organizations views the coal industry's relative standing in the global fuel mix. While fossil fuels still account for 81% of the world's energy consumption — a statistic that hasn't changed in 30 years — natural gas has eaten into much of coal's market share in the U.S. and is expected to grow globally.
On the other hand: Luke Popovich, spokesman for the National Mining Association, lays the blame at former President Obama's feet, saying the industry had a coalition prepared to fund its share of a carbon capture project called FutureGen 2.0 but federal funding was pulled due to a statutory deadline.
my Harder Line column
this week for more on the latest about clean coal technologies.
Up we go: Prices are ticking upward Tuesday as traders appear to have more confidence following yesterday's meeting in Russia that OPEC and allied producers can eventually make some progress in taming the global supply glut.
Oil peak soon? Goldman Sachs lays out an unlikely-but-possible peak in worldwide oil demand in less than a decade, according to Reuters. The peak could arrive as soon as 2024 "if there are more efficiency gains in vehicles, greater market penetration by electric cars, lower economic growth and higher fuel prices," Goldman said in a note, while calling this an "extreme" case.
A few pieces of news about the department...
Brass tacks on fracking regs: Interior's Bureau of Land Management is slated to issue a proposal today that will formally withdraw Obama-era regulation of hydraulic fracturing on federal and tribal lands.
Dems want IG probe of staff moves: 8 Senate Democrats on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee are asking Interior's inspector general to investigate "troubling" reports of the "arbitrary reassignment" of dozens of career staff.
Interior deputy confirmed: The Senate voted 53-43 yesterday to confirm lobbyist David Bernhardt as deputy secretary, the number two slot at the department. Vote breakdown here.
Carbon pricing: Researchers with the think tank Resources For the Future have a new paper that explores the benefits and potential drawbacks of linking separate regional carbon pricing systems (using California and the northeast's Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative as a test case).
Climate science: A new paper concludes that humankind's available carbon "budget" — the amount of emissions that can be emitted in years ahead while still preventing the most dangerous warming levels — may be smaller than previously estimated.
Electric cars: Your Generate is a little late to this one, but three cheers for this useful chart from Bloomberg New Energy Finance that compares a slew of forecasts (including their own) of EV market penetration increases in coming years and decades.
Heat: Over at the University of California-Berkeley, Lucas Davis looks at how changes to electricity pricing in India could prevent use of the most inefficient air conditioners, which are problematic as air conditioning is expanding as the hot continent gets hotter.
NASA has released new photos of Operation IceBridge, an airborne survey of a specific kind of thick Arctic sea ice that has been around for multiple years.
According to the agency, this type of ice has "dramatically thinned" and shrunk in area as the climate has warmed. NASA says it once accounted for 70% of winter Arctic sea ice, but these days it's less than 20% of total sea ice reach.
Why it matters: Nathan Kurtz, a scientist with the project, says in the short report released Monday that this thick form of ice serves an important purpose by reflecting sunshine away.