A quick piece of housekeeping: the next edition of Generate will be Monday, July 9. Have a nice holiday!
Yesterday marked the 1979 release of the Neil Young and Crazy Horse album "Rust Never Sleeps," so one of my favorite songs ever is today's intro tune ...
State-level climate and low-carbon energy policies are getting a lot more attention as the White House unwinds Obama-era federal efforts.
So here are a couple new developments...
1. Run it back: Two years after a carbon tax ballot measure failed in Washington state, another fight over a differently designed proposal is in the offing. A coalition of tribes, community, labor and environment groups say they've gathered enough signatures to put a carbon fee measure on the ballot, per AP.
Buzz: The energy industry has been "galvanized" into forming a political action committee against the measure, called No on 1631, and includes pledges from BP, Shell, Chevron, Phillips 66 and others, according to Public Disclosure Commission records, the Seattle Times reports.
Context: The Seattle Times notes that the failed 2016 measure was structured differently...
"The 2016 carbon measure also was burdened by a nasty split in the state environmental community over whether it was the right way to move forward. The measure was intended be revenue neutral, cutting some taxes while raising taxes on fossil fuels that generate emissions."
2. New legal fight: Rhode Island yesterday sued several major oil companies, including ExxonMobil and BP, for contributing to climate change, which has damaged state infrastructure and coastal communities, Reuters reports.
Why it matters: It's the latest in a string of lawsuits seeking to force the industry to pay for the infrastructure and other costs of dealing with climate effects like rising seas.
What's next: We're looking to see how the oil industry will use the California decision in its fight against similar lawsuits in other venues.
Yeah, no: Via Bloomberg, "Saudi Arabia and Russia reaffirmed an agreement between OPEC and its allies to increase oil production by 1 million barrels a day."
What OPEC is thinking: A new Brookings Institution post by Samantha Gross about the multiple motivations for OPEC's decision to boost output includes an interesting wrinkle — the notion that a peak in oil demand factored into their thinking. She writes:
Predicting when oil demand might level off is a difficult exercise, but the timing doesn’t matter so much as the near certainty that it will happen in the coming decades.
OPEC members understand that at some point in the future when demand plateaus and declines, oil will not be worth as much as it is today.
This reality argues for increasing production in times of tight markets—selling oil now and maintaining market share is likely to be a better strategy than saving it for later when it may be worth less.
Iran and Trump: Per the New York Times, "The Trump administration is softening its earlier demand that countries like China, India and Turkey end all imports of Iranian oil by Nov. 4, as a top State Department official on Monday said the United States would allow reduced oil flows, in certain cases."
Several Carnegie Mellon University researchers conclude in a new analysis published in PNAS that nuclear power is unlikely to play a major role in helping to deeply decarbonize the U.S. energy system.
Why it matters: A number of analysts say nuclear power — via continued operation of aging plants and new development — is among the key technologies needed to enable steep emissions cuts by midcentury.
What they found: A few takeaways from CMU's engineering and public policy research team...
One level deeper: The paper devotes considerable space to various potential deployment pathways for SMRs, such as military power procurement and use for industrial process heat — and they're bearish on all of them.
Tesla, part 1: Doug Field, Tesla's senior vice president for engineering, is leaving the Silicon Valley electric automaker, first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Tesla, part 2: A quick follow-up to the news that the company met its goal of producing 5,000 Model 3s at the close of the second quarter.
Deal collapse: Nissan says the $1 billion deal with Chinese private equity group GSR Capital has been dropped after GSR failed to come up with the funds, the Financial Times reports.
You've probably heard long-term climate projections expressed as a single temperature, such as an increase of 2°C, or 3.6 °F.
Why it matters: The chart above shows how much warming that varying shares of the population are projected to experience under modeling scenarios called representative concentration pathways (RCPs).
The bottom line: "In a world where warming is limited to 'well below' 2C about 14% of the population will still experience warming exceeding 2C. In the worst-case scenario of continued growth in emissions, about 44% of the population experiences warming over 5C – and 7% over 6C – in 2100," Zeke Hausfather writes.
What's happening now: The post concludes that 16% of the global population has already experienced warming of at least 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels — the aspirational ceiling for long-term temperature rise under the Paris climate agreement.