🍹 Yes. Friday. We're cruising into the weekend with 1,193 words, 4.5 minutes.

⏸️ Situational awareness: The SEC has stayed its new climate disclosure rule while court battles play out.

🎸 This week in 2006, the Red Hot Chili Peppers dropped today's intro tune...

1 big thing: Stormy omens

Data: NOAA; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Americans should prepare for a potentially expensive, damaging — and life-threatening — Atlantic hurricane season, Andrew writes.

Driving the news: Colorado State University meteorologists issued such a bullish initial seasonal forecast yesterday, calling for a staggering 23 named storms, 11 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes.

Why it matters: Seasons that feature some of the current elements have been among the busiest on record, but none have seen this potent a mix.

Stunning stat: According to Brian McNoldy, a meteorologist at the University of Miami, this will be the first year on record that the average temperature of the North Atlantic Ocean basin failed to fall below 20°C (68°F) for an entire year.

  • And waters in the "Main Development Region" of the Atlantic, where many notorious storms form, are already at levels typically seen during July.

The big picture: Philip Klotzbach of CSU presented the new outlook at an annual hurricane conference in South Padre Island, Texas.

  • Klotzbach showed that La Niña years have featured far more Category 3+ hurricanes that moved close to, or actually hit the U.S. and Caribbean, compared with El Niño years.
  • A single landfalling storm, such as Hurricane Ian in 2022, can result in catastrophic losses for the insurance and reinsurance industry.

Threat level: Higher odds of landfalling storms raises the stakes for them, and for the many residents of coastal states.

  • Many can no longer afford hurricane insurance, or may be relying on a state policy of last resort that would be overwhelmed by a significant storm.

Context: Climate change is partly, or possibly even mostly, responsible for the record warm Atlantic waters, scientists have said.

  • And the ocean heat stands to exacerbate existing, human-driven trends in hurricanes that were already making them more destructive.

The bottom line: Coastal residents should not sleep on preparing for this hurricane season.

Go deeper

2. House GOP's IEA probe deepens

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

House Republicans are expanding oversight of U.S. participation in the International Energy Agency, Ben writes.

Why it matters: Fresh inquiries to IEA and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm seek data on U.S. funding for the international body, which produces influential analyses about the future of fossil fuels.

  • And they imply sustained pressure, following a recent joint letter from top Republicans on the Senate and House energy panels.

Our thought bubble: Keep an eye on whether some Republicans will look to scale back U.S. support.

  • Axios' Jael Holzman recently reported on GOP concerns about taxpayer dollars feeding the agency.

What's new: House energy committee GOP leaders wrote to Granholm asking for info on U.S. funding and the department's engagement with IEA studies.

  • A new letter to IEA head Fatih Birol asks more questions about its work and money.

Catch up quick: GOP critics and some oil analysts allege the organization is:

  • Offering overly rosy projections about the transition from fossil fuels — studies that influence policy and investment.
  • Straying from its founding energy security mission.

The other side: The agency has repeatedly defended its work and says its energy security focus is unwavering.

3. A wonky-but-important dispatch

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Two major think tanks, plus a big grantmaker, just launched a research initiative on building economic resilience in fossil fuel-reliant communities, Ben writes.

What's new: Resources For the Future, Columbia's Center on Global Energy Policy and the Bezos Earth Fund are teaming up.

  • It's a multiyear plan to fund research and "build a community of scholars, policymakers, and economic development practitioners."
  • There's an "urgent need to develop tangible strategies" the groups said.
  • One major goal is leveraging expertise and solutions from people in these regions.

Why it matters: The decision to assemble like Voltron underscores the topic's importance.

  • Oil, gas and coal fund services, and sustain economies, in many regions. But climate policies are aimed at spurring transition from fossil fuels.

What we're watching: An initial report identifies areas where more analysis is needed.

4. Oil breaks out amid rising Mideast tensions

Brent crude oil futures
Source: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Deena Zaidi/Axios Visuals

Brent crude oil prices reached around $91 per barrel yesterday, the highest since October 2023, with markets getting more anxious about increasing geopolitical risks, Axios' Deena Zaidi reports.

Why it matters: After months of being hemmed in by fears of soft global demand, the benchmark added nearly $2 per barrel during the session, inching closer to the psychologically charged $100 level.

The big picture: Growing geopolitical tensions have only acted as a catalyst for market fluctuations.

Full story

5. 🏃🏽‍♀️ Catch up quick on tech finance: carbon and cars

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

🛢️ Chevron is the lead investor in carbon capture startup ION Clean Energy's $45 million Series A round, Ben writes.

  • Why it matters: Carbon capture, while slow to advance commercially, is a key focus of U.S. majors' climate investments.
  • The big picture: The companies said ION's liquid amine tech is well-suited to trapping carbon from hard-to-abate industrial sectors.

🚗 Maniv, a venture firm focused on decarbonizing transportation, closed its third fund at $140 million.

  • Why it matters: The firm projected optimism about the space despite headwinds of late.
  • State of play: "Despite individual company failures, and even entire business models not panning out, the inherent need to decarbonize and digitize the way people and things move remains — and innovation continues afoot," founder Michael Granoff writes. Go deeper.

6. Why the EV transition has gotten so messy

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

A dizzying array of choices — gas, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, EVs, even hydrogen — are confounding to the average consumer, Axios' Joann Muller writes.

Why it matters: This is what car-buying will be like for the foreseeable future amid the messy, multi-decade transition from gas to EVs.

The big picture: The EV shift was never going to be clean and swift, even though some companies (and investors) projected hockey stick-like growth — up and to the right — based on Tesla's meteoric rise.

  • Now that the early adopter era is over, those expectations have met reality.
  • Even Tesla is struggling: Its first-quarter deliveries fell 8.5% this year from the same period in 2023.
  • Other carmakers' EV sales are still growing, however. Hyundai's rose 62% this past quarter compared to the previous year, for example, while Toyota and Ford reported strong sales of gas-electric hybrids.

State of play: Overall, EVs' first-quarter growth rate was a tepid 2.7% vs. last year's torrid 47%, while hybrids are becoming more popular.

The bottom line: The growth slowdown is real.

Full story

7. Bonus: Ford slows EV rollouts

Speaking of that messy transition, Ford is delaying launch of new three-row electric SUVs as auto giants recalibrate their plans.

Why it matters: Ford implicitly cited demand challenges, Ben writes.

  • The extra time will "allow for the consumer market for three-row EVs to further develop and enable Ford to take advantage of emerging battery technology," it said.

State of play: Ford is now eyeing 2027 — not 2025 — for launching three-row EVs produced at its Oakville, Ontario plant.

  • And it's targeting 2026, rather than late 2025, for a new electric pickup.

Yes, but: The company is continuing construction on new facilities that will build or design future EVs and components, Axios' Nathan Bomey notes.

📬 Did a friend send you this newsletter? Welcome, please sign up.

🙏 Thanks to Chris Speckhard and Javier E. David for edits to today's edition, along with the brilliant Axios Visuals team.