The countdown is on: Tuesday brings the launch of Axios Space, a new weekly newsletter covering the latest in the trends, business and science of space.
Onto music. ACDC's Angus Young had a weekend birthday, so they'll easily get us to escape velocity...
These are split-screen times for shareholder advocates pushing the world's most powerful oil companies to do more on global warming.
Driving the news: Axios' Amy Harder reported yesterday that the SEC granted ExxonMobil’s request to throw out a shareholder resolution urging the oil giant to disclose targets for steeply cutting emissions.
The intrigue: Her story landed just hours after Royal Dutch Shell said it's quitting a major lobbying group, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, over differences on climate policy.
The bottom line: The developments highlight successes and hurdles facing activists seeking to use investors' stakes as leverage to force more aggressive steps on emissions and disclosure.
What's next: In the Exxon fight, the group shareholder advocacy group Ceres said yesterday evening that they're looking at several options after the SEC decision.
What they're saying: Ceres' Andrew Logan said in a statement that the investors behind the resolution will "make full use of their suite of rights." In a followup email, he told me they are mulling options, including...
The big picture: Let's turn back to Shell's action. There's an argument that yesterday's splashy move really just affirmed the status quo.
But, but, but: Jason Bordoff, head of a Columbia University energy think tank, said via Twitter that Shell's move is "just the beginning" and that he sees it spilling over into API, the industry's main lobbying group.
Markets: "Oil rose to almost $70 a barrel in London, a level last breached in November, as global crude supplies tightened while hopes for an end to the U.S.-China trade impasse lifted financial markets," Bloomberg reports.
LNG: Via Reuters, "French oil and gas major Total SA and U.S. company Tellurian Inc have signed deals supporting the development of the proposed $30 billion Driftwood liquefied natural gas (LNG) project."
Saudi Aramco: The Financial Times has a nice package of charts, culled from Saudi Aramco's bond prospectus, that provide context for the state oil giant's production, profits, costs and cash flow.
Pipelines: Per the Houston Chronicle, "New York private equity firm Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners bought Permian Basin-focused pipeline operator Oryx Midstream in a $3.6 billion deal."
Axios Expert Voices contributor Todd Moss explores the relevance of a USAID Inspector General report that dinged the electrification initiative called Power Africa for overstating its effect by counting delivery of solar lanterns as new electricity connections.
Why it matters: Accurate measures of progress are essential for reaching the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 7: To ensure reliable and affordable energy worldwide by 2030. Although global energy access has expanded, strengthening the measures used to track it could help make a more meaningful impact.
By the numbers: Roughly 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity at home, according to International Energy Agency estimates.
Between the lines: Small systems like solar lanterns are emblematic of the low bar international organizations have set for solving global energy poverty.
Moss is executive director of the Energy for Growth Hub and a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development.
The mix of new power generating projects in Africa added by Chinese companies is getting lower carbon as a whole, according to newly updated IEA data.
Why it matters: As the Expert Voices piece above notes, electricity access needs in Africa are immense. But a big question is how to expand electrification while holding down emissions increases. And Chinese companies do lots of business in Africa.
What they did: IEA looked at projects with Chinese companies as the main contractor over 2 time periods, as the chart above shows.
Go deeper: IEA posted a commentary looking at China’s involvement in the power sector in sub-Saharan Africa.
"Another way to look at the scale is that these sorts of numbers are several times larger than the current oil-and-gas industry in terms of volumes.
"So essentially we need to build an industry that’s, say, 3 to 4 times the size of the current oil-and-gas industry just to clean up our waste."
Who said it: Glen Peters of Norway's Center for International Climate Research, speaking on the new podcast episode from UPenn's Kleinman Center for Energy Policy.
Context: He's citing estimates — and not even the highest ones — of the sheer volume of CO2 that may ultimately need to be pulled from the atmosphere using various "negative emissions" technologies.
Why it matters: A major UN-led scientific report last year concluded that pathways for holding the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels all require some level of atmospheric carbon removal.