Good morning, and welcome. Ben Geman is back in action today, so he and I are tag-teaming today's edition.
Situational awareness: Energy Secretary Rick Perry told reporters in Kiev that the U.S. is preparing to sanction companies working on Russia's long-proposed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, Reuters reports. Perry said both chambers would pass a sanctions bill and President Trump would sign it.
Let's dive into the rest...
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
More people around the world say they’re worried about climate change — but that concern is not translating into a willingness to pay more for energy or vote for candidates supporting aggressive action on the issue.
Driving the news: At least 3 recent developments show this stark disconnect...
My thought bubble: Expressed concern doesn’t necessarily equate to action. Just ask someone worried about eating right and exercising enough — but who doesn’t actually make it to the gym or opt for salad over fries.
But, but, but: Exceptions exist to this rule, just like there are people who exercise regularly and eat healthy.
What we’re watching: Whether this disconnect just needs more time to, well, connect, as warming’s impacts worsen and the cost of addressing the problem drops as clean-energy technologies become more affordable.
What’s next: This year’s re-election campaign of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be interesting to watch as it's shaped by debate on climate change and the newly installed carbon tax.
Venezuela's oil production has dropped to the lowest level in more than 15 years, driven by widespread power outages, mismanagement of the nation's oil industry, and U.S. sanctions directed at the nation's energy sector, according to new U.S. Energy Information Administration data.
By the numbers: In April 2019, Venezuela's oil production averaged 830,000 barrels per day, down from 1.2 million at the beginning of the year. That's the lowest level since January 2003.
The intrigue: Via Bloomberg's Tina Davis: "Venezuela has gone from Latin America's largest oil producer to the fourth-largest, behind Brazil, Mexico and Colombia."
One level deeper: The sanctions on Venezuela — namely their impact on oil prices — could play a role with inflation too, Axios' Dion Rabouin writes.
Emerging tech to suck CO2 from the air is getting lots of buzz and cash, but a new paper in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Sustainability proposes a method for atmospheric capture of methane to alleviate warming and buy more time to tackle the bigger CO2 problem.
Why it matters: Methane — a greenhouse gas originating from agriculture, natural gas production, and elsewhere — is emitted in smaller quantities than CO2 but is far more potent at trapping heat on a pound-for-pound basis in the near-term.
What they're saying: "The technique could restore the concentration of methane to levels found before the Industrial Revolution, and in doing so, reduce global warming by one-sixth," the authors write in a separate piece at The Conversation.
How it works: They propose using zeolites — which are porous crystalline structures made from aluminum, silicon and oxygen — that can trap methane.
The intrigue: The system they envision would ultimately transform the methane into less-potent CO2, providing some breathing room given methane's potent short-term warming effects.
EVs part 1: The big EV charging player EVgo and Chevron said yesterday that they're adding fast-charging to several Chevron gas stations in L.A. and the San Francisco area. Engadget has more.
Coal: Via Greentech Media, "Xcel Energy plans to close its last two coal-fired power plants in Minnesota by 2030, a decade earlier than scheduled, while keeping its nuclear power plants running through at least 2040 — the latest step in the eight-state utility’s plan to reach 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050."
2020: AP reports, "Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bennet said Monday he wants to commit $1 trillion for underwriting research and projects to address climate change, set aside about one-third of U.S. lands and ocean territory for conservation and reach net-zero U.S. emissions by midcentury."
Several experts with the Atlantic Council write that due to atrophy at home and competition abroad, the U.S. nuclear industry is increasingly at risk of losing power plants, workforce talent and global business.
Why it matters: The civilian and military nuclear sectors depend on one another, and both are strategic assets vital to national security. Nuclear energy also eases the path to decarbonizing the U.S. electric grid.
Context: Prospective employment in the civilian nuclear power sector is a core incentive to academic training and military careers in nuclear energy. This supply chain of expertise is at least as essential as the material inputs.
The authors are with the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, where Randolph Bell is director, Jennifer T. Gordon is deputy director and Robert F. Ichord Jr. is a senior fellow.