Hey and happy Tuesday: I’m moderating a conversation on the Future of Clean Growth at the British Embassy tonight, at 6pm ET.
Today's Smart Brevity: 1,284 words, < 5 minutes.
Plus, at this moment in 1982, The Jam was atop the U.K. singles charts with today's earworm of an intro tune...
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The new White House budget proposal is awkward for Capitol Hill Republicans who are taking pains to emphasize "innovation" to fight climate change.
Driving the news: The fiscal year 2021 plan would slash Energy Department science and R&D programs. For instance, it calls for...
The intrigue: Ok, yes, the White House has tried to deeply slash DOE programs for years, and Congress hasn't gone along and won't this time.
The bottom line: To some extent this is all theater because nobody expects this budget to resemble what's ultimately appropriated.
What they're saying: I asked House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's office whether the budget proposals are consistent with his innovation focus. Per a spokesperson...
Renewables and environmental groups bashed the budget plan, which would also cut EPA programs. One example, the Environmental Defense Fund, hit at the White House for "prioritizing polluters" over public health.
The intrigue: We were curious what ClearPath, a group that promotes "conservative" policies to boost clean energy tech, made of it.
What they're saying: Executive director Rich Powell praised some elements, including a proposed $300 million for DOE's Versatile Test Reactor project. He said...
"The inclusion of the Versatile Test Reactor, Energy Storage Grand Challenge and the grid storage launchpad is a positive signal they’ll be priority programs."
"Based on the recent spending bills, we are encouraged that Congress and the Administration will continue their trend of investing in clean energy innovation R&D when they put together the legislation."
The huge utility Dominion Energy vowed this morning to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by midcentury.
Why it matters: Virginia-headquartered Dominion has ranked among the country's 10 largest power generators and operates in 18 states.
What's next: "The company will focus not only on driving toward the 2050 goal, but on achieving near-term progress, particularly on methane emissions," the announcement states.
The big picture: Dominion — whose fleet includes coal, gas, nuclear and renewables — said it plans to meet the overall goal with a menu of strategies.
If you look at it just right, the glass appears almost half-full on carbon emissions, at least to the International Energy Agency.
Driving the news: An IEA analysis released Monday evening found that energy-related CO2 emissions were flat last year at 33.3 gigatonnes.
Why it matters: Scientific analyses show that steep, steep cuts — not just a plateau — are needed to meet the temperature goals of the Paris climate agreement. That's nowhere near happening and emissions are at record levels, but, well, let's have IEA boss Fatih Birol take it from here...
Where it stands: IEA, explaining why overall emissions were flat, cited a "sharp decline" in CO2 from the power sector in advanced economies as renewables, gas and higher nuclear output shove coal aside.
Go deeper: Energy emissions stall as rich nations kick their coal habit (Bloomberg)
Here's one thing that helped global emissions growth seemingly flatten: Wind and solar power combined outpaced coal-fired generation in the EU for the first time last year, a pair of think tanks said.
Why it matters: Energy transitions are notoriously slow — until they're not.
Let's check in on how how coronavirus is hitting oil markets. Reuters reports this morning...
"Oil rose to $54 a barrel on Tuesday, recovering from a 13-month low as the number of new coronavirus cases slowed in China, easing some concerns about lengthy destruction of oil demand."
The big picture: More analysis is emerging about the scope of the outbreak's effect.
What's next: IEA's next oil market analysis arrives Thursday.
Sales of residential batteries in California are expected to quadruple this year to over 50,000 storage systems, the research firm BloombergNEF said in a short new analysis.
Why it matters: It adds specifics to the expectation that power outages — notably widespread blackouts by utilities seeking to cut wildfire risk — will juice sales.
The big picture: They note it's an opportunity for solar companies that also offer batteries.