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Situational awareness: "Tesla Inc. is losing its general counsel two months after hiring him, replacing the veteran trial lawyer with a longtime insider who helped the electric car company navigate some of its biggest legal issues," the Wall Street Journal reports.
And happy birthday to the late Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, who has today's intro song...
Democrats' efforts to craft climate and energy policy heading into the 2020 elections are very fluid, creating space for new ideas and the risk of chaos that leaves them lacking a clear agenda.
Why it matters: Political windows for big emissions policies open rarely, and the early efforts to craft an agenda follow major scientific findings on the dangers of unchecked warming.
The big picture: There are several forces behind this open landscape, including...
Where it stands: With Washington largely stuck until at least after the 2020 election, there are lots of wonky efforts to shape policies that would be ready for launch if...
What we're hearing: Advice is flying in from all angles...
1. Joseph Aldy, a former Obama aide now at Harvard, states in The Conversation that the 2009 stimulus — the big green investment vehicle of its time — holds lessons for the GND.
2. Ramez Naam writes a lengthy piece for TechCrunch that looks at what Democrats could push without a filibuster-proof majority (which they're highly unlikely to have). Killing the filibuster would open more options but the appetite is highly uncertain.
3. Martin Wolf explains in the Financial Times why a carbon tax, which lots of economists like, won't be nearly enough.
The prominent startup accelerator Y Combinator will soon unveil the first wave of funding for recipients working on "frontier" technologies to pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
What's next: President Sam Altman told me via email that his company — an influential player that's helped launch Dropbox, Airbnb and others — has started funding a few companies and some research in carbon removal technology.
Why it matters: It signals that Y Combinator has already found entrepreneurs and researchers that it sees worth helping to advance frontier carbon-trapping technology with more decisions to come in subsequent rounds.
The latest: "Overall we’ve seen some applications come from the initial areas we outlined and a few from other promising CDR areas like biochar," Hall told me yesterday. Y Combinator is still accepting new funding applications, she added.
Editor's note: This story corrected the name for Y Combinator's Maddie Hall.
Glencore said Wednesday that it plans to hold coal production to roughly current levels as the company "rebalances its portfolio towards commodities that support the transition to a low-carbon economy."
Why it matters: The decision by the global mining behemoth is the latest sign of major energy companies agreeing to new steps on climate change at a time of growing shareholder activism.
The intrigue: FT's coverage provides context around their boardroom strategy, noting that the pace of global coal demand growth has slowed in recent years.
Where it stands: The coal limit is part of wider pledges announced after negotiations with the investor group Climate Action 100+.
The big picture: The International Energy Agency sees a slight uptick in global coal consumption over the next 5 years.
But, but, but: IEA has consistently underestimated renewables growth.
The transportation policy collision between California and the Trump administration is intensifying with two new developments.
The big picture: "Talks between California and federal officials on vehicle emissions and fuel economy standards have broken down without a deal," Bloomberg reports, citing three sources.
Why it matters: The Bloomberg report on the vehicle rules raises the odds of a protracted and high-stakes legal fight over the emissions and mileage standards.
Threat level: When it comes to the train, LA Times reports that the imperiled grants would fund the Central Valley portion of the project that's still moving forward, even as Gov. Gavin Newsom has put the proposed Los Angeles to San Francisco line on ice.
Oil: The latest Energy Information Administration report sees oil production from U.S. shale formations rising to 8.4 million barrels per day next month.
Nuclear: Per Axios' Orion Rummler, House Democrats plan to investigate claims from "multiple whistleblowers" that some Trump administration appointees proposed selling nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia over the objections of top national security officials, according to an interim staff report from the House Oversight Committee.
Electric vehicles: Electrek reports that Tesla is getting ready to offer leasing options for the Model 3, but the timing remains very unclear.
Speaking of Tesla, Axios autonomous vehicles expert Joann Muller is skeptical of CEO Elon Musk's claim that Tesla's full self-driving features will be completed by the end of 2019.