Good morning. Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,301 words, 5 minutes.
And at this moment in 1973, Gladys Knight and The Pips had just ended a run atop the Billboard charts with today's classic intro tune...
The holidays arrived early if you're looking for something to read that's very sobering and over 800 pages long: the International Energy Agency's new World Energy Outlook 2019.
Why it matters: It finds that existing and announced policies worldwide won't come close to reining in carbon emissions, despite the strong growth of climate-friendly energy sources.
What they did: The annual report models three scenarios for the long-term future of energy demand and the fuels and technologies used to meet it. They are...
What they found: Even under nations' announced policy ambitions, energy demand is projected to rise by roughly 1% annually until 2040 (the end of the modeled period).
The big picture: Under the "announced and current policies" scenario, low-carbon sources — notably solar and wind — are surging. Renewables are the biggest electricity source by 2030.
The bottom line: IEA boss Fatih Birol urges emphasis on deploying new technologies and bringing about efficiency gains consistent with the Paris-aligned scenario.
Meanwhile, as these big reports are kind of a choose-your-own-adventure, there's also plenty to write about on its oil-and-gas market findings.
Here's another part of the IEA report that jumped out at me...
What they found: The amount paid in fossil fuel consumption subsidies worldwide is far above subsidies for renewables, and is massive compared to revenues from carbon pricing systems.
Why it matters: "This imbalance greatly complicates the task of achieving an early peak in emissions," the report states.
Another challenge on the climate front via IEA: Almost 60% of the world's fleet of coal-fired power plants is 20 years old or less.
Why it matters: The report notes that coal plants typically are designed to run for around 50 years, and coal is the most carbon-intensive fuel to burn.
In separate but similar efforts this week, a corporate lobbying campaign and a grassroots interest group are both calling on Washington to pass a carbon tax, Axios' Amy Harder reports.
Driving the news: Americans for Carbon Dividends, an industry-backed lobbying group, is launching a six-figure advertising campaign Wednesday promoting a carbon tax whose proceeds are returned to consumers.
Reality check: Congress is unlikely to pass such a proposal anytime soon. Nearly all Republicans, both on Capitol Hill and in the White House, are opposed to a carbon tax — at least publicly. Meanwhile, the most vocal Democrats, including those running for president, want more aggressive policies than a tax.
Where it stands: Americans for Carbon Dividends, which has funding from big corporations including ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, is launching the first part of what it says will be a long-running advertising campaign.
What I’m watching: Halstead expects bipartisan legislation on his group’s proposal in both chambers by sometime next year (a similar policy has already been introduced in the House).
Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced yesterday that the electric automaker's planned European factory will be located near Berlin, Germany.
Driving the news: It marks the Silicon Valley electric automaker's second international plant, joining a recently launched facility in China.
Why it matters: Tesla will "compete with some of the world’s biggest auto makers on their home turf," the WSJ notes.
What they're saying: “It’s strategic to lure German automotive talent to Tesla, and it’s a statement that Elon wants to one-up auto companies from that region," Gene Munster of the VC firm Loup Ventures tells Bloomberg.
S&P Global Market Intelligence has a great look at big power companies' pledges to reach net-zero emissions or 100% zero-carbon generation by 2050.
Why it matters: Electricity giants like Duke Energy, Xcel Energy, PSEG and others have made high-profile climate pledges.
But, but, but: As the story notes, the companies don't really know how they'll get all the way there.
The big picture: "Instead, they say crossing the finish line will require significant future advances in, and a massive scaling up of, technologies such as carbon capture and sequestration, advanced nuclear reactors and battery storage — primarily with the help of the federal government — plus yet-to-be-defined emissions offsets for any remaining natural gas plants."
A few things caught my eye about the embattled, bankrupt utility at the center of California's power and wildfire crisis...
The big picture: UC Berkeley professor Severin Borenstein looks at the pros and cons of recent calls to radically transform PG&E's ownership structure.
Where it stands: Via Bloomberg, PG&E is "trying to offer $13.5 billion in compensation to the victims of wildfires sparked by its power lines as part of a restructuring plan, according to people with knowledge of the situation."
The beer angle: Via San Francisco's KCBS Radio, "A Santa Rosa brewery has apologized after launching a beer with a name that used an obscenity to criticize Pacific Gas & Electric."