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My Axios colleague Amy Harder was among the speakers at an event on carbon taxes yesterday, and distilled her thoughts into this item in the Axios stream. Here's part of it . . .
In the movie "The Secret Life of Pets," there's a part where two dogs are in dire straits, running away from a pack of angry dogs and lost in New York City's sewage pipes. One dog says to the other, "We've got a problem." The other responds: "We have so many problems. Which one do you mean at this moment?"
That's how I see things with a carbon tax, despite many economists insisting it's the best, simplest way to combat climate change. There's four big problems, as I explained at the Brookings Institution Tuesday:
Click here for the rest in the Axios stream.
The scene in Vienna: Via Reuters, "OPEC and Russia look set to prolong oil supply cuts until the end of 2018 this week while signalling that they may review the deal when they meet again in June if the market overheats."
Markets keep watch: Via Bloomberg and other outlets, oil prices fell somewhat Wednesday morning as traders watch the action at the OPEC meeting.
Be smart: This CNBC interview with Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects, offers some good context on the dynamics at the OPEC meeting, where the future of the deal between the cartel, Russia and other producers is under discussion.
Looking further ahead: While the specifics of the output-cutting extension remain in flux, the Wall Street Journal reports that the widespread expectation of some kind of deal is prompting banks to boost their price estimates.
New commitment: Yesterday Royal Dutch Shell said it would aim to cut the "net carbon footprint of its energy products by around half by 2050," with an interim reduction goal of 20% by 2035.
Why it matters: The pledge is the latest sign of how the world's biggest oil and gas companies are positioning themselves on climate change. It also comes on the heels of Shell's deepening involvement in electric vehicle charging.
Yes, but: I reached out to Andrew Logan, director of oil and gas for the sustainable investment group Ceres, for some perspective on Shell's carbon goal. Here's what he told me in an email exchange...
Go deeper: The New York Times looks at Shell's plans here.
Amy also has this dispatch from a Tuesday event with a top Energy Department official...
Steve Winberg, who just before Thanksgiving was sworn in as DOE's assistant secretary for fossil energy, deferred to Congress on the Trump administration's big budget cuts to his office and said it's not his job to set climate change policy.
Driving the news: Winberg, whose remarks at an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies were his first on the new job, is in the hot seat because President Trump and his top advisers say they support robust development of technologies that capture carbon emissions from coal plants and other emitting facilities. Much of what happens on this issue will come down to his office, and so far it's not much.
On the budget cuts: "The president made it very clear that he wants DOE to be focused on basic, fundamental research and early stage research. … Congress set the budget, and we'll manage the budget accordingly based on what Congress appropriates for us."
Reality check: The office Winberg oversees would receive a 54% budget cut under Trump's proposal, though Congress is expected to keep funding mostly the same.
Click here for the rest of the story in the Axios stream.
FERC powers up: Via Utility Dive, Richard Glick will be sworn in as a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today. No word yet on when incoming chairman Kevin McIntyre will be seated.
Arctic drilling: The Interior Department yesterday said it has given the U.S. branch of Italian oil giant Eni permission to drill an exploratory well in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska's northern coast. It will be the first offshore exploration in the region since Shell's ill-fated campaign ended in 2015.
"Drilling the exploratory well from a man-made artificial island in the Beaufort Sea is expected to start as early as this December," Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said. The Associated Press has more here.
Latest in lobbying:
In Congress today: