Happy Friday and happy birthday to the talented Mike Campbell, the guitarist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, who bring us into the weekend...
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
The extreme (and deadly) cold in the midwest is an important look at the complicated effects of climate change, and an event that could have political and policy ripples in Washington.
Why it matters: Let's start with the latter, which brings me to this piece in Bloomberg. Jennifer Dlouhy reports...
But, but, but: Absent broader signs of grid problems, it's not clear that the extreme cold can provide a political lift for the controversial efforts.
The big picture: Axios' Andrew Freedman reports that the polar vortex's arrival in the U.S. this week is a reminder that it's possible to have extreme cold in a warming world.
The big question: Researchers want to know how Arctic climate change is altering the major circulation patterns in the Earth's atmosphere.
ExxonMobil reported full-year profits of $20.8 billion Friday and a Q4 haul of $6 billion, results that sent the oil giant's stock slightly upward in pre-market trading upward despite a decline in quarterly earnings.
By the numbers: The quarterly result of $1.41 per share topped analysts expectations of $1.18 per share, according to Reuters.
The big picture: Via Bloomberg, "Strong crude flows from North America’s most-prolific oil field — the Permian Basin — softened the blow of plunging oil prices at the end of 2018. For the first time in five quarters, Exxon posted a year-over-year increase in production."
Separately, as we were about to send this newsletter, Chevron announced a $3.7 billion Q4 profit and full-year earnings of $14.8 billion.
BP is supporting a proposal by activist investors that calls on the multinational giant to disclose how its spending and strategies sync up with the Paris climate agreement.
Why it matters: Friday's move is the latest sign of how some of the world's biggest fossil fuel producers are responding to pressure from advocates — including some large investors — on global warming.
Where it stands: BP is supporting a resolution from Climate Action 100+ to be adopted at BP's annual meeting later this year.
Details: The group says its 310 members collectively manage $32 trillion in assets. Members include Hermes EOS, Allianz Global Investors, Calpers, the Church of England Pensions Board, and HSBC Global Asset Management.
What they're saying: “This additional reporting will give investors better clarity about how BP can continue to deliver value through the energy transition in a way consistent with the Paris goals,” BP chairman Helge Lund said in a statement.
When it comes to compensation, BP is linking annual bonuses with progress toward a 2018 pledge to cut emissions from its own operations by 3.5 million tons by 2025.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
We're on the cusp of the most dramatic shift in transportation in a century, but red flags from a series of experts warn that America's workforce is not prepared to meet the needs of the digital mobility era, Axios' Joann Muller reports.
Why it matters: The advent of self-driving and electric cars will require a workforce with new, advanced skills to create, manage and maintain them.
But there's likely to be a serious shortage of people with those skills — so experts say governments, corporations and educational institutions need to work together to create modern training programs to fill the gaps.
The big picture: Truck drivers and taxi drivers are often singled out as the most likely to be displaced by autonomous vehicles. But the Brookings Institution estimates that digital mobility, including AVs, will change the jobs of more than 9.5 million workers — or more than one out of every 20 U.S. workers.
New jobs will be created, too. Self-driving and electric cars will help create more than 100,000 U.S. jobs in the next 10 years, says Boston Consulting Group.
A recent Deloitte report that caught my eye offers a different kind of warning: They say EV sales will grow very sharply but there may be too many players vying for a piece of the pie.
Why it matters: The report offers a look at how electrification is poised to shake-up the industry in ways that offers opportunities and peril for both the big legacy automakers and startups.
What they found: The report sees EVs as reaching an inflection point on costs very soon.
Threat level: Deloitte sees the industry supply of EVs nonetheless outstripping demand despite the rapid growth as companies bring more and more offerings to market.
What's next: The report recommends strategies around branding, battery supply chains and more to help companies navigate the rise of electrification.
Cheryl LaFleur, a Democratic member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said Thursday that she's reluctantly leaving the commission later this year.
Why it matters: It paves the way for another new face on the independent agency that plays a key role overseeing power markets and vetting proposals for natural gas pipelines, among other roles.
The intrigue: An adviser to LaFleur told Utility Dive that Senate leaders made clear to LaFleur this week that she would not be renominated. But the exact reasoning remains vague, the website reports.
What's next: She plans to remain until her term ends June 30 and maybe longer, depending on the status of a successor.
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
PG&E employees say they are worried about what's at stake for pensions, the health of their 401(k)s and other unpaid obligations from the company as it enters the bankruptcy process, Axios' Courtenay Brown writes.
Details: Though PG&E said it will continue to pay employees' wages, health care and other benefits, many employees expressed major concerns that the company will renegotiate worker contracts in an effort to cut costs. The bankruptcy process is expected to be lengthy and complicated.
Background: PG&E filed for bankruptcy earlier this week, seeking protection on potentially billions of dollars in liability costs for its role in deadly wildfires across California.
Several union members are worried about receiving payments — uncashed paychecks, paid out vacation and severance agreements — owed by the company before it filed for bankruptcy.
The volatility of PG&E's share price has hit employees' 401Ks. The stock has rallied in recent days, despite the bankruptcy filing, but has recently fallen as low as $7 from $48 in November, before the deadly Camp fire broke out.