Today marks 29 years since Public Enemy released "Fear of a Black Planet," so that pioneering act brings us into the news...
The oil industry is finding lots of hydrocarbons thus far in 2019, putting discoveries on pace to grow by 30% this year if they keep it up, the consultancy Rystad Energy said this week.
Why it matters: The finds by big players like ExxonMobil and Total are a sign of ample new supplies that could come online in coming years, which is likely to further ease concerns about a crude supply crunch down the road.
By the numbers: First-quarter discoveries of conventional oil and gas, which excludes shale, were 3.2 billion barrels oil-equivalent.
What's next: "[T]he push for substantial new discoveries shows no signs of slowing down, with another 35 high impact exploration wells expected to be drilled this year, both onshore and offshore," Rystad wrote.
Quick take: The big finds are another sign that fears of a crude supply crunch opening up by the early 2020s likely won't come to pass.
But, but, but: "Forecasts of a supply gap persist, but they’re being pushed further out into the future," Bloomberg reported in late January, and IEA has warned against complacency.
President Trump plans to issue executive orders today aimed at easing domestic natural gas transport and avoiding the kind of lengthy battles over cross-border infrastructure that ensnared the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Why it matters: The 2 orders show how the White House is trying to make fuller use of executive powers to speed up permitting and approvals of various projects, including gas pipelines facing state-level opposition.
How it works: Senior officials said yesterday that one of the provisions in the wide-ranging orders will be to make clear that decisions to approve or deny permits for projects that cross international borders rest solely with the president.
One major provision aims to alter how the EPA carries out a Clean Water Act provision — Section 401 — that now gives states considerable power over domestic projects that could affect waterways.
But, but, but: "Trump’s action is unlikely to jump-start widespread construction, since it’s up to Crongress — not the president — to restrict states’ authority under the Clean Water Act," Bloomberg reports.
What's next: Trump plans to announce the orders at a Houston-area event.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Axios' Joann Muller writes that if carmakers want to make money on electric vehicles, they'll need to rethink how they design and sell them, according to a new McKinsey study.
Why it matters: Automakers will pour $255 billion into EVs by 2023 but are resigned to losing money on them for the foreseeable future — an expected outcome of a market dictated by regulators and lawmakers, rather than consumers, per AlixPartners.
The big picture: Right now, EVs are an expensive black hole for carmakers.
By the numbers: The high cost of rechargeable, typically lithium, batteries is the root of the problem.
Yes, but: Most consumers aren't willing to pay more for an EV, so carmakers need to either swallow the extra cost or make them simpler — and cheaper — to build.
What to watch: Consumer attitudes are shifting, with more people indicating they would consider buying an EV. If so, that black hole might not be as deep as feared.
A Democratic Senate duo is introducing legislation today taxing carbon emissions, in the shadow of the largely symbolic but far higher profile debate about the Green New Deal, Axios' Amy Harder reports.
The big picture: The bill, sponsored by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Brian Schatz, is the latest in a series of broad bills springing up in Congress.
Driving the news: Several bills are in the mix. Some of these were introduced for the first time last Congress.
But, but, but: None of these bills are likely to become law anytime soon given Republican political leaders, including Trump, dismiss the issue, and they’re controlling much of Washington right now.
E&E News briefly caught up with Stephen Moore, Trump's pick for the Federal Reserve Board, to ask about what the Fed's climate role should be. His basic view? There isn't one.
Why it matters: Moore's comments come as Democrats are pressing the Fed to weave climate risks into its oversight. But Moore, if indeed confirmed, could present more hurdles.
What he said: "The Fed's job is to keep prices stable; that's all it is. It's not to get involved in political and policy issues," Moore told E&E's Scott Waldman.
The intrigue: Moore's view isn't unanimous within the Fed. Glenn Rudebusch, an EVP at the San Francisco Fed, argued in a paper last month that climate is becoming increasingly relevant for monetary policy.
But Rudebusch doesn't make policy. And Fed Chairman Jerome Powell didn't go nearly that far in testimony before the Senate Banking Committee in late February.
What's next: I'm waiting for the Fed response to a January letter from Democratic senators seeking details about how it assesses the topic. They asked for information by mid-February, but it hasn't arrived yet, according to an aide to Schatz, who led the effort.