Good morning! Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,279 words, ~5 minutes.
And happy birthday (a day late) to The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards. One of his Stones gems opens today's edition...
A new study helps to show that experts are all over the map when it comes to gaming out the rise of electric vehicles in the global marketplace.
Why it matters: The speed at which EVs become truly mainstream is one variable affecting the future of oil demand and carbon emissions. Passenger cars account for roughly a fourth of world oil demand.
What they did: Columbia's Center on Global Energy Policy surveyed a suite of long-term forecasts from energy companies, government bodies, think tanks and others.
The study compiled various analysts’ projections on several metrics, including the EVs share of global vehicle sales (as the chart above shows), the share of vehicle miles traveled, and EVs market share of the total fleet.
What they found: The latest round of analyses are slightly less optimistic than last year's projections for several reasons, including weakening U.S. policy and slightly slower projections of battery cost declines.
The study also shows lots of divergences.
Note: Those super-high penetration rates in the chart above are based on various low carbon scenarios.
They typically assume implementation of strong policies that would enable steep emissions cuts, as opposed to analysts' best guesses of what's most likely to unfold.
Photos: Picture Alliance and Maja Hitij/Getty Images
More companies from across the corporate spectrum are joining a long-shot advocacy effort to pass a carbon tax in a bitterly divided Congress, Axios' Amy Harder reports.
Driving the news: General Motors, Ford, IBM, and two power companies — Calpine Corporation and Vistra Energy — are putting money toward a lobbying campaign that would put a price on CO2 emissions and refund revenue back to consumers.
Where it stands: These companies join several others funding Americans for Carbon Dividends (AFCD), the lobbying arm of the Climate Leadership Council (CLC), a coalition that includes companies, environmental groups and former Republican officials.
By the numbers:
But, but, but: These figures are often quite small compared to the companies’ overall lobbying efforts. General Motors has spent more than $6 million in the first three quarters of this year; Ford, more than $3 million.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
A couple of things caught my eye since our last edition...
Congress: Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune is really upset with congressional Democrats about year-end deals they cut with Republicans and the White House.
They include a tax package that omits expanded incentives for electric vehicles and solar projects and the trade deal he calls a loser for the climate.
White House race: Elizabeth Warren, in a BuzzFeed column yesterday, laid out what she'd seek to accomplish in her first 100 days on climate change.
BP and corporate giants including Unilever announced a new consortium Thursday that aims to transform "difficult to recycle" plastic wastes into materials that can be repeatedly used to make high-quality packaging.
Why it matters: The world has a gigantic plastics waste problem, and these are some big players — others involved include food and beverage giant Danone and the big packaging company Alpla.
The big picture: The group aims to speed deployment of BP's "Infinia" technology for recycling polyethylene terephthalate plastic packaging waste.
Rita Griffin, the chief operating officer of BP's petrochemical unit, said, "we know we cannot create circularity on our own." The company is working with others to "prove a practical business model that can hopefully contribute to making all types of polyester waste infinitely recyclable."
Where it stands: Via Bloomberg, "The move follows in the footsteps of a competitor Total SA, which announced last week that it would work alongside companies including Nestle SA and Mars Inc. to develop a nascent chemical-recycling industry in France."
A new analysis could take a step toward resolving a fiery debate: how to think about — and describe — likely levels of future emissions and warming in light of current trends and planned policies.
Driving the news: Two scientists, in a lengthy post via the Breakthrough Institute, conclude Earth is on track to warm by roughly 3°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.
Why it matters: 3°C means a world far hotter than today.
But it's also far less than would likely be enabled by models using high and even unchecked emissions growth — scenarios that they argue, based on extending the International Energy Agency's 2040 analyses through 2100, are no longer in the cards.
Hausfather and Ritchie see the most likely outcome from current policies is 2.9°C-3.4°C, but that falls to 2.7°C-3°C if nations meet their existing pledges under the Paris deal.
The big picture: 3°C would mean a lot of damaging outcomes, and even warming to date is causing major harms. A big UN-led report last year explored the consequences of breaching 1.5°C (which is quite likely).
But, but, but: They argue that some commonly cited future "pathways" used in climate literature that bring much higher warming levels are looking quite unlikely for several reasons, including efforts over the past decade to move away from coal.
One level deeper: "Even a current policies scenario where emissions continued to steadily grow rather than leveling off after 2040 would still end up well-below the commonly used RCP8.5 (SSP5-8.5) scenario, which represents the highest end of the range of no-policy baseline scenarios examined in the literature."
The intrigue: Needless to say there's plenty of variables because gaming out the future of technology, policy and economic trends is really dicey. There's also uncertainty about the sensitivity of the climate to rising emissions concentrations.