Happy Friday! First things first: I garbled one of Jay Inslee's quotes yesterday. His comment about his Chevy Bolt electric vehicle wasn't actually gibberish. The correct version is here.
Axios' Amy Harder joined Off The Charts, the podcast from the University of Chicago's Energy Policy Institute, to discuss the evolution of climate change press coverage. Listen here and read her column on the topic.
And onto music: Today marks the 1965 release date of Bob Dylan's "Bringing It All Back Home," so we'll head into the weekend with this beautiful song...
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
The emergence of electric vehicles, automated tech and ride-sharing has prompted a wave of corporate partnerships and joint ventures in the auto industry as big players seek their footing in the evolving market.
Why it matters: It's a sign that big legacy companies like GM, Ford and Volkswagen see the need to find technical expertise outside their own walls, and maximize resources as they make costly new investments.
Driving the news: Yesterday VW and the Swedish battery company Northvolt said they'll lead a new industry R&D consortium called the European Battery Union. The other companies aren't public yet.
Where it stands: It's the latest of many moves in recent months and years, such as...
“Established companies are trying to figure out what their future is and what they want their future to be, and how they can remain relevant.”— Valerie Sathe Brugeman, assistant director for transportation systems, Center for Automotive Research.
The big picture: Mark Muro of the Brookings Institution, who analyzes industrial transitions, said such collaborations occur at times of upheaval in different industries, such as semiconductors.
The intrigue: That also means, in addition to corporate giants teaming up, they're increasing work with tech startups and sometimes acquiring them outright.
Between the lines: Auto industry partnerships are hardly new, but "collaborations are accelerating," according to Autotrader analyst Michelle Krebs.
Editor's note: This piece was updated to reflect Valerie Sathe Brugeman's title change to assistant director for transportation systems.
"The reduction of the average fuel consumption per kilometre slowed down in advanced economies to only 0.2% per year, on average, between 2015 and 2017, with more than 20 countries experiencing a reversal in the evolution of their fuel economy."
That's a big takeaway from a Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) report released via the International Energy Agency this week.
By the numbers: Worldwide, the average fuel economy improvement rate slowed to 1.4% per year between 2015 and 2017, although the gains in emerging economies were higher.
Why it matters: It's nowhere near the GFEI target of 3.7% annual improvements in order to help control CO2 emissions. And IEA chief Fatih Birol, in a statement alongside the report, called the overall slowdown "cause for alarm."
Go deeper: IEA has a cool interactive tool to track vehicle sales, efficiency and other data across 18 major auto markets including that in the U.S.
This Bloomberg story is wild. It looks at what happens when the thirst for information in the huge and lucrative oil trading market meets the emergence of new tech.
In this case, that means increased availability of geolocation data that opens a real-time window onto refinery maintenance or accidents that affect their crude demand.
Why it matters: "[T]raders can gain insight into refinery operations by tracking the number of mobile phones at the plant, a proxy for the arrival of support crews," Aron Clark reports.
How it works: "One company mining this information is Orbital Insight Inc., which uses mobile phone geolocation data — providing the times and locations for individual devices — to track staffing changes," the story states.
Yesterday marked 25 years since the United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change entered into force.
Why it matters: The deal struck in Rio de Janeiro laid the foundation for negotiations — lots of negotiations — that ultimately produced the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
The big picture: Assessing the whole UNFCCC is more than I'll bite off here. But few would argue that the ambition in Rio is translating into policy steps anywhere near commensurate with the problem.
By the numbers: The average concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide in 1994 was 359 parts per million, per National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration records.
But, but, but: Diplomacy and negotiations under the UNFCCC have also led to greater global collaboration on confronting climate change and at least agreeing to what the goals should be.
The Paris deal aims to prevent global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with an aspirational target of holding the rise to 1.5°C.
What they're saying: Patricia Espinosa, the top UN climate official, said in a statement marking the birthday that there have been successes and disappointments.
The bottom line: Major studies conclude that global warming is already having harmful effects worldwide that are expected to worsen as temperatures rise.
Two stories yesterday caught my eye that lay out some of the challenges facing the sweeping concept...
On Capitol Hill, E&E News looks at how the Green New Deal hasn't snagged another Senate co-sponsor beyond the 11 who joined Sen. Ed Markey in the Feb. 7 rollout.
And Reuters reports that renewable energy industry officials are keeping their distance from it, "calling it unrealistic and too politically divisive for an industry keen to grow in both red and blue states."