πŸ„ We'll be riding a big wave of news this week. Let's dive in with a Smart Brevity count of 1,122 words, 4 minutes.

πŸ‘€ Axios will have great events at COP28 in Dubai! Full agenda and registration.

🎢 This week in 1994, R&B great Mary J. Blige released the album "My Life," which provides today's flawless intro tune...

1 big thing: A double dose of oil drama

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The immediate and long-term future of oil will face intense scrutiny this week, Ben writes.

What we're watching: The COP28 summit in the United Arab Emirates, which starts Thursday.

  • The annual UN talks, held in a petro-state this year, will feature multifront battles over how fossil fuels figure in climate policy.
  • Industry execs and oil-producing nations argue robust demand calls for their skills and scale in using their products more cleanly, including carbon capture.

Yes, but: Activists and multiple countries want a clear summit endorsement of getting away from fossil fuels, not just mitigating their impact.

Meanwhile: Russia and the allied oil producers known as OPEC+ will huddle on Thursday for a delayed meeting about output levels. All eyes are on...

  • Whether OPEC+ deepens existing output cuts.
  • Whether Saudi Arabia β€” OPEC's dominant producer β€”Β extends separate cuts currently in place through December.

The big picture: Bigger or extended cuts may help shore up prices, which are roughly 13% below mid-October levels, despite recent advances.

What they're saying: The climate summit's opening could influence OPEC+ talks, RBC Capital Markets analysts said.

  • They write that OPEC members will "endeavor to maintain public displays of harmony with COP28 set to begin in Dubai on the same day."
  • RBC also sees Gulf producers looking to show unity as they call for a "lasting ceasefire" between Israel and Hamas.
  • Their "base case" prediction is extension of current cuts but no deeper pullback.

The intrigue: An International Energy Agency analysis unveiled ahead of COP28 puts fresh pressure on oil companies.

  • IEA's look at the industry's role in "net zero transitions" says the sector faces a "moment of truth" in Dubai.

State of play: It knocks the industry for putting too little into low-carbon investments while pulling in almost $3.5 trillion in average annual revenues since 2018. It also says companies have opportunities in energy transition.

  • The study warns the industry that if countries follow through on their climate pledges, oil and gas demand would fall steeply by 2050.

Quick take: The report, and IEA boss Fatih Birol's accompanying remarks, are unusually blunt.

  • IEA said the industry is currently a "marginal force" building a clean energy system.
  • And stronger commitment would mean "letting go of the illusion that implausibly large amounts of carbon capture are the solution."
  • CNN has more on IEA's brushback pitch.

The bottom line: This is an important week for oil's present and future.

2. Charted: the oil industry's slow green pivot

How much the global oil and gas industry invests in clean energy
Data: IEA; Note: Investment amount is in 2022 dollars; Table: Axios Visuals

This chart ☝️ shows that oil and gas industry "clean" energy investments have grown but remain a small slice of the sector's overall spending as of last year, Ben writes.

The big picture: The industry's spending was just 1.2% of global clean energy investment in 2022, per IEA data.

  • But here's a wild stat: Over 60% of it came from just four firms: Equinor, TotalEnergies, Shell and BP.

Yes, but: Tracking this isn't exact science.

  • Some huge companies with low-carbon investments don't disclose overall amounts, the agency notes in the report, which examines state-owned, private and public players.
  • And multiple firms see rising investments in years ahead.

The bottom line: "Clean energy progress will continue with or without oil and gas producers. However, the journey to net zero emissions will be more costly, and harder to navigate, if the sector is not on board," IEA head Fatih Birol said.

3. President Biden may ditch COP28

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

President Biden is not expected to attend the opening of COP 28 this week but will send top U.S. officials to the UN climate summit in Dubai, the White House confirmed, Axios' Rebecca Falconer and Ben write.

Why it matters: Biden attended the previous two COP summits and made addressing climate change a pillar of White House policymaking.

The big picture: Senior White House aides suggested that Biden was busy dealing with matters like the Israel-Hamas war, per the New York Times, which first reported the news.

State of play: COP28 begins Thursday, and world leaders' portion will be held on Friday and Saturday.

  • A White House schedule shows Biden will attend the National Christmas Tree lighting Thursday and host a bilateral meeting with Angola's president.
  • The only other event this week Biden is scheduled to attend is a Sunday reception for Kennedy Center honorees.

The intrigue: The White House has not categorically stated that Biden will not attend COP 28.

It's possible he could make an appearance deeper into the summit.

Full story

4. Catch up fast on COP28: IMF goals and brewing forest push

Illustration: Axios Visuals

πŸ’΅ Breaking: the International Monetary Fund just released a broad set of proposals and warnings as it looks to influence COP28, Ben writes.

  • The big picture: One piece tries to inject momentum into carbon pricing, calling for a global price reaching $85 per ton by 2030.
  • The intrigue: "[C]ooperation is needed to help assuage fears that carbon pricing would hurt national economic competitiveness," the analysts write. They suggest a deal between the U.S., EU, China and India that "could spur other countries to follow."
  • Zoom in: The IMF's wider call for more ambitious policies says a "fair approach is for countries to target cuts in emissions in line with per capita incomes."
  • The bottom line: It warns that nations' current pledges under the Paris Agreement would only curb emissions by 11% by 2030 β€” way off track with the pact's goals.

🀝 The United Arab Emirates, on the sidelines of COP28, plans to hold talks with other governments about striking oil and gas deals, per BBC reporting on leaked documents obtained by the Centre for Climate Reporting.

🌳 Via Reuters, "Brazil plans to propose a 'huge' fund to pay for the conservation of tropical forests at the United Nations COP28 climate change summit that begins later this month in Dubai, the country's top climate negotiator said on Thursday."

5. πŸƒπŸ½β€β™€οΈ Catch up fast on business: EVs and oil

πŸš— Nissan is investing roughly $2.5 billion to build two new EVs and another battery plant at its Sutherland, England site, Ben writes.

  • The big picture: It follows Nissan's recent announcement that all new models unveiled in Europe will be electric. The NYT has more.

πŸ‡§πŸ‡· Brazilian oil giant Petrobras is boosting investment in oil exploration and low-carbon sources in its wider $102 billion plan covering 2024-2028.

  • Why it matters: It's a 31% rise over the prior five years, marking a newly assertive posture for the state-controlled firm under President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
  • The big picture: Exploration and production represents 71% of the total, with Petrobras saying new fossil fuels are needed to meet demand even amid energy transition.

6. πŸ’¬ Quote of the day

"Losing one chief executive is OK, losing two is awkward, losing three is like 'what the hell's going on?'"
β€” Oil analyst Paul Sankey, quoted in the Financial Times about BP, which has seen three of its last four CEOs abruptly depart since 2007.

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πŸ™ Thanks to Chris Speckhard and Javier David for edits to today's edition, along with the talented Axios Visuals team.