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Onto music. On this date in 1982, Dire Straits released the album "Love Over Gold," so I hope you have 14 minutes handy for today's intro tune...
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Scoop, via my colleague Amy Harder ... Powerful U.S.-based oil companies — ExxonMobil, Chevron and Occidental Petroleum — are joining a global consortium of oil and gas producers seeking to address climate change, Axios has learned.
Why it matters: The companies are the first U.S.-based members of the group, called the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative.
Driving the news: CEOs of most of the group’s 13 member companies, including Saudi Aramco, Shell, BP and Occidental, are scheduled to speak at an event Monday in New York City hosted by the group and facilitated by Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.
“It will take the collective efforts of many in the energy industry and society to develop scalable, affordable solutions that will be needed to address the risks of climate change.”— Darren Woods, CEO, Exxon, per draft announcement viewed by Axios
By the numbers: The group’s companies represent 30% of the world’s oil and gas production, and 20% of the planet’s primary energy consumption. Their clout is now truly global, with the addition of American companies, which had been a notable omission since the group’s founding four years ago.
What they're saying: The companies involved declined to comment, as did Columbia University. CEOs of Exxon and Chevron likely can’t make Monday's event due to prior obligations, along with CEOs of one or two foreign-based companies, people familiar with the planning say.
The group’s purpose is twofold:
The other side: Environmentalists and others skeptical of the industry say commitments by oil companies to address climate change ring largely hollow absent more aggressive action urging governments to price carbon emissions. The group’s mission is expressly not geared toward influencing any government policy.
Between the lines: CEOs of several major, publicly traded oil companies say they support carbon taxes and back a separate group writing a proposal for one. But the companies are not actively lobbying Congress to embrace the policy. That disconnect will grow harder to reconcile as their public commitments to address climate change, such as through groups like this, grow.
Trump resumed his attacks on OPEC Thursday morning amid oil prices that have climbed to their highest level in two months.
Quick take: With the caveat that it’s quite possible to over-interpret Trump’s tweets, today's action underscores the tricky oil politics facing the White House.
Also breaking Thursday: Per S&P Global Platts, "Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh on Thursday said he would veto any OPEC deal that imperils Tehran's oil market share, complicating the organization's talks with Russia and other partners to institutionalize their supply management accord beyond this year."
The big picture: This Bloomberg piece Thursday from the same interview Zanganeh did with the two outlets offers a wide-angle look at the cartel's dynamics.
A flourishing partnership between its arch-rival Saudi Arabia and Russia shows signs of eclipsing OPEC’s preeminence as a global source of crude.
At the same time, Iran’s traditional ally within OPEC — Venezuela — is struggling to stave off economic collapse.
Proterra said Wednesday that it closed a $155 million funding round that was led by Daimler, Tao Capital Partners and G2VP. Also announced was a new partnership between Proterra and Daimler to explore ways to electrify the German automakers' line of heavy-duty vehicles.
What's next: The partnership will start with exploring "synergies" with Daimler subsidiary Thomas Built Buses to use Proterra tech for the U.S. school bus market, the companies said.
Why it matters: This is California-based Proterra's first foray into the school bus market, and fulfills CEO Ryan Popple's earlier indication of interest.
What they're saying, per a release: The companies believe school buses are a good candidate for electrification because they travel a predictable distance each day, similar to city buses.
Yes, but: Greentech Media cautions that "it’s hard to predict when or if such agreements will bear fruit."
The newly published edition of the IEA's Key World Energy Statistics is a grab-bag of useful data.
Why it matters: China plays an outsized role in the world's energy and climate present and future. It's by far the world's largest GHG emitter and coal user (IEA has charts on that too), but it's also a vital driver of renewable production and equipment manufacturing.
By the numbers: Aside from the solar data above, here are a few other metrics of China's footprint...
More on China's new tariffs on U.S. LNG that we covered yesterday...
"Limited" threat: Barclays' analysts call the penalties "limited" for near-term U.S. export volumes.
Winners and losers: Via the Financial Post,
The intrigue: The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, looks at a potential spillover effect of the trade war. Nathaniel Taplin writes that if China steers clear of buying U.S. gas cargoes this winter, it will likely need more coal imports.
The big picture: Via Reuters, "Energy trade with China will remain strong in the long term, officials said on Wednesday at a Sino-U.S. oil and gas forum in Houston, even as an escalating trade dispute hits U.S. exports of natural gas."
The big question: What about partially automated vehicles, equipped with features such as lane centering, adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking?
The big picture: Early data on partially automated Tesla models suggest a similar trend, showing drivers racking up more miles than in otherwise comparable electric vehicles.
Why it matters: This has potential negative consequences for congestion, energy consumption and emissions.
Where it stands: More research is needed to fully understand these complex dynamics, since greater vehicle use can have consequences for climate change, air pollution and the maintenance of roads.
Proactive policies, such as incentives for AV ride-sharing, may help to limit these adverse outcomes as partially automated vehicles become more ubiquitous and full autonomy grows nearer.
Sperling is a professor of civil engineering and environmental science and policy at UC Davis, where he is also founding director of the Institute of Transportation Studies. Hardman is a postdoctoral researcher at ITS.