🍸 Yes. Friday. Today's newsletter has a Smart Brevity count of 1,284 words, 5 minutes.

🗓️ Join Axios Pro: Energy Policy's Jael Holzman at 12:30pm ET Thursday, July 20, for a virtual event on what's driving Capitol Hill support for mining. Guests include U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Eric Swalwell. Register to attend

🎵 Exactly 35 years ago, Sade was #1 on Billboard's R&B charts with this week's final intro tune...

1 big thing: Dangerous heat grips more than 15 states

Data: NOAA Global Forecast System; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

The heat wave affecting nearly 115 million people is going to intensify significantly before conditions improve, Andrew writes.

Why it matters: The heat is so severe and long-lasting that it constitutes a deadly threat in many areas, particularly across the Southwest and portions of the West.

Extreme heat is the top annual weather-related killer in the U.S. and can cause harm indiscriminately and quickly.

Context: Human-caused climate change is worsening this heat wave by making it more intense, longer-lasting and more likely to occur.

  • An initial analysis from research nonprofit Climate Central shows that climate change has made the record-breaking temperatures at least 5 times more likely for some areas affected by this heat wave than in a world without the added amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

By the numbers: One feature of this heat event is how high temperatures are likely to get in cities that are typically very hot in the summer. Records are not broken easily there.

  • In Phoenix, each day for the past 14 days has reached or exceeded a high temperature of 110°F. The all-time record stands at 18 days, and high temperatures for the next five days or more are forecast to hit or exceed the 110-degree mark.
  • Also in jeopardy is the record for the hottest seven days, to be set from Thursday through July 19. This is partly due to extremely warm nighttime lows.
  • The city may break its record string of days with overnight lows at or above 90°F, and had a minimum temperature of 95°F Thursday morning.

The big picture: The scope of the heat wave is rare, as is its persistence. The heat reaches from Florida to California and is poised to expand its grip to the Great Basin and the Pacific Northwest.

  • This extreme event features sultry air rich with moisture drifting in from the record-warm Gulf of Mexico waters as well as a blazing, dry heat. Each is hazardous.
  • The weather pattern consists of a broad area of high pressure aloft across the southern tier, known as a heat dome.
  • The NWS forecast office in Phoenix notes in a Friday forecast discussion that the heat dome is historic, calling it "one of the strongest high pressure systems this region has ever seen."

What's next: The latest computer model projections show that even under low-to-medium-emissions scenarios, heat waves such as this are likely to become routine in the next few decades.

What they’re saying: “Take the heat seriously and avoid time outdoors,” the National Weather Service stated.

Read the whole story

2. Bonus: The case for "chief heat officers"

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amid record heat in the Southwest, some U.S. cities are struggling to mitigate extreme heat, Axios' Jennifer A. Kingson reports.

Why it matters: It's still early in the summer, and too many cities are getting caught flat-footed without a heat action plan.

  • Some cities have "chief heat officers," but others have been uncoordinated, with efforts siloed in different departments.

Driving the news: When Miami-Dade County, Phoenix and Los Angeles appointed chief officers in 2021 and 2022, other major U.S. cities were expected to quickly follow — but none have.

State of play: Cities like Boston and New York are managing heat response through their emergency services departments or other offices.

  • But having a dedicated position can empower the officeholder to cut through red tape and focus squarely on mitigating heat.

Read the whole story

3. Making sense of Exxon's CO2 play

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

ExxonMobil's purchase of the big carbon dioxide pipeline firm Denbury — which we only had time to graze in yesterday's newsletter — is a BFD for the oil giant and maybe the growth of U.S. carbon capture, Ben writes.

🏃🏽‍♀️Catch up fast: The $4.9 billion all-stock deal gives Exxon the country's largest CO2 pipeline network, as well as 10 sequestration sites and Denbury's oil producing assets.

Why it matters: Andrew Dittmar of Enverus Intelligence Research said in a note that it's apparently "the first significant public M&A deal where [carbon capture and storage] assets make up the bulk of value."

  • Bloomberg Intelligence analysts say it's "yet another sign that [Exxon] will favor carbon capture and sequestration over other forms of low-carbon solutions."

What we're watching: How much the new assets enable Exxon to speed the growth of its carbon capture and storage business.

  • Exxon has already struck deals with several Gulf Coast area industrial giants. But the company also envisions vastly scaling up its CO2 division in the region — the same location as most of Denbury's network.
  • The Denbury pipelines also run close to several of Exxon's own petrochemical sites in the region, their investor deck shows.

Quick take: Climate law incentives improve the challenging economics of carbon capture and storage, but Exxon's still pushing in more chips when the market remains small and uncertain.

What they're saying: "The biggest impact will be on the ability to add new customers as we move forward," Dan Ammann, head of Exxon's low-carbon business, said in an interview.

  • "This network extends all across the Gulf Coast. It's very close to a lot of the most significant, highest emitting industrial sites in all of the U.S."
  • "By having an existing infrastructure already in place, it allows the connection of those potential new customers to happen much more quickly, because you don't have to build a whole new pipeline."

4. Bonus: The state of global carbon capture

Number of CO2 capture facilities globally
Data: IEA; Chart: Rahul Mukherjee/Axios. Note: Includes commercial-scale projects with capacity over 100,000 tons per year, or with no announced capacity but a clear commercial scope.

The number of carbon capture projects in development is growing fast, but from what remains a small base relative to global emissions from heavy industries and fossil energy infrastructure, Ben writes.

The big picture: In the International Energy Agency's new review of dozens of climate technologies, CO2 capture, utilization and storage is among the areas the organization calls "not on track."

Zoom in: Over 50 new capture facilities planning operation by 2030 have been announced since January 2022.

  • But the project pipeline is only about a third of what's envisioned to be operating in 2030 in IEA's roadmap to net-zero emissions in 2050.

5. 🏃🏽Catch up fast: Policy, carbon finance, EVs

📬 EPA is throwing open the doors for applications for $20 billion worth of competitive grant funding under the climate law's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, Ben writes.

  • The big picture: The program will "mobilize private capital into clean technology projects to create good-paying jobs and lower energy costs for American families, especially in low-income and disadvantaged communities," a White House summary states.

💵 The direct air capture startup Avnos said it inked strategic and investment partnerships worth a combined $80 million with ConocoPhillips, JetBlue Ventures and Shell Ventures.

  • Why it matters: It's a pretty big funding amount in the DAC space. Avnos says it will use the capital to deliver "commercial-ready" units by the end of 2025.

🚗 "China's BYD Co has submitted a $1 billion investment proposal to build electric cars and batteries in India in partnership with a local company," Reuters reports, citing people with "direct knowledge" of the plan

6. One tech thing to go: the largest 3D-printed building

An on-site horse walker (left) and aerial view of the luxury horse barn (right). Photos courtesy of Printed Farms/Bonomotion

A luxury horse barn in Florida is primed to be the world's largest 3D-printed building, Axios' Ayurella Horn-Muller reports.

Why it matters: 3D-printed buildings tend to be promoted as a promising new solution for the building industry, which has a major carbon footprint.

  • But experts warn there's not enough evidence to support these claims just yet.

What they're saying: The climate case for 3D-printing buildings lies in waste reduction, said Printed Farms founder Jim Ritter, whose company is developing the Florida project.

  • "America is a very wasteful society. We have to start keeping things longer. Our clothing, our cars, everything. That's the whole point of a greener, more sustainable building system," said Ritter.

Yes, but: Case Western Reserve University engineering expert Elias Ali said curbing use of cement — which is highly CO2-intensive to produce — in 3D-printed construction is key to sustainability.

Read the whole story

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