Good morning, I'm helping fill in for Ben Geman today. Let's get to it.
Situational awareness: Chevron announced new goals Thursday for cutting greenhouse gas emissions intensity (emissions per unit of energy produced).
Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,050 words, 4 minutes.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
The tendency for Washington policymakers to not accept mainstream climate science is growing inside echo chambers and under President Trump, according to a new peer-reviewed study.
Why it matters: The research adds some quantitative heft to the notion that Trump, who regularly dismisses and mocks climate change, is having a tangible impact among America’s most influential policy experts working inside the beltway of Washington, D.C.
Driving the news: Echo chambers — the concept that people share views only with those with similar views — have formed relatively quickly among policy leaders around misinformation of climate science under the Trump administration, according to the study, which is online but not-yet published in Environmental Research Communications.
Where it stands: The study surveyed and analyzed dozens of Washington elites across government, think tanks and more, over 3 separate periods: 2010, 2016 and 2017.
The big picture: This trend is at complete odds with climate change and the science underpinning it. Nearly all scientists agree that human activity is a dominant cause of Earth’s temperature rise over the last century, and connections between that and extreme weather are getting clearer — both in real life and in research.
Led by wind and solar, renewable energy will make up nearly 50% of global electricity within the next 30 years, up from today’s 28%, according to new data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Yes, but: The data also finds that carbon dioxide emissions will keep rising over that same time period, underscoring a stubborn, inconvenient fact: To tackle climate change, you need to address the emissions from oil, natural gas and coal, not just rapidly increase renewables.
Natural gas meters from a commercial building. Photo: Tim Boyle/Getty Images
A growing number of cities are eliminating natural gas hookups in new homes and buildings as they work to reduce emissions and help meet climate targets, Mike Henchen of the Rocky Mountain Institute writes for Axios Expert Voices.
Where it stands: At least 8 California cities have passed new policies this year to support all-electric new construction, and the trend is spreading beyond the state.
Yes, but: As gas use declines, utilities will need new solutions to pay for gas grids that support a dwindling customer base. In many cases, outdated gas infrastructure will need to be decommissioned when it’s no longer needed.
The bottom line: Renewable electricity has become cheaper as it has expanded, helping the U.S. electricity system cut its emissions by 25% in the last 10 years. Transitioning from gas to fully electric power in buildings could further extend that progress.
Henchen is a manager with RMI's building electrification team.
Tesla delivered a record 97,000 vehicles last quarter but nonetheless fell short of some analysts' expectations for the July–September stretch, Ben writes.
Why it matters: The electric automakers' stock tumbled roughly 6% in after-hours trading following Wednesday's announcement, and is currently down around 5%.
What they're saying: "This is a credibility hit. This is a textbook example of Elon not being disciplined and having difficulty managing expectations," Gene Munster of the VC firm Loup Ventures tells Bloomberg.
But, but, but: Tesla said orders are at record levels and emphasized interest in its Model 3 sedan, which is aimed at a wider pool of buyers than the costlier Model S and Model X.
One big question: Can Tesla hit its full-year goal of at least 360,000 deliveries worldwide, which would require 105,000 in Q3?
What's next: As we noted Friday, a more important moment arrives when Tesla announces Q3 earnings in coming weeks.
Go deeper: Tesla sets record for car deliveries, but challenges remain (WSJ)
Shell has bought a nearly 20% stake in Orb Energy, an Indian solar firm that says the financing will boost its work with commercial clients, Ben reports.
Why it matters: Thursday's announcement is the latest move in Shell's growing investments outside its dominant oil-and-gas business, and comes as Indian officials are trying to greatly expand renewable output.
What they're saying: “Shell’s investment will power the next phase of our growth and ensure that more underserved [small and medium-sized enterprises] in India can benefit from clean, lower-cost electricity from solar," Orb CEO Damian Miller said in a statement.
Heat: With a 98-degree October day, Washington, D.C., broke records Wednesday, the Washington Post reports.
Coal: "Murray Energy Corp., the U.S. coal giant that had pressed the Trump administration for help averting bankruptcy, may be headed toward default," Bloomberg reports.
Oil: A new Washington state law limiting the railroad unloading of oil to 1 of its 5 refineries is having a big detrimental impact on oil deliveries, S&P Global Platts reports.