Good morning and welcome back to Generate. Your host is pretty psyched for Sunday's Berlin Marathon, where the world record might fall and there's a great chance of a great race regardless. Letsrun.com sets the table here.
Ok, let's get to energy news . . .
Into the great wide open: The recent burst of attention toward the White House posture on the Paris climate deal has underscored two basic things...
So... Here's the thing about the second point, which the U.S. has been stating since June: Nobody knows what this means, and the Trump administration won't say, instead defaulting to the most general of generalities.
Why this matters: The information void makes it impossible, for now, for the international community to assess whether there's really a pathway here, and indeed whether it's one worth walking down.
Case in point: Paris surfaced in yesterday's meeting between Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron. State Department advisor Brian Hook, briefing reporters on the sidelines of the U.N. meeting in New York yesterday, said that Trump reiterated that the agreement is unfair to the U.S., and bad for its workers and economy. But he declined to offer any specifics about what it might take for the U.S. to remain in the deal.
Between the lines: It's one thing to avoid details in a press conference. But they're not emerging behind the scenes either. Nobody your Generate host has spoken with has picked up on any signs of a tangible position behind the White House claim that the U.S. is open to staying on more favorable terms (especially given that the agreement is largely nonbonding and countries set their own emissions targets anyway).
One expert notes:
However, there's little to suggest that the administration is putting more meat on the bones of its policy.
Total's latest: The France-based global oil giant Total announced Tuesday that it's spending 237.5 million euros for a 23% share in the renewable power company EREN RE, a deal that could lead to fully taking over the company in several years.
Too smart: Greentech Media breaks down a new deal in the smart grid and smart city market as Itron announces plans to buy Silver Spring Networks in a $830 million transaction. "Monday's surprise merger would create a company with more than 90 million smart endpoints deployed with some of the world's biggest utilities," they report.
Coal's future: A detailed, chart-heavy new story in The Financial Times looks at why efforts to revive the coal industry's long-term future face stiff headwinds.
Warning: A new report from the consulting firm IHS Markit warns of the economic costs of the U.S. power system's move away from coal and nuclear power.
My colleague Amy Harder compares global environment agreements struck three decades apart...
The 30-year-old Montreal Protocol offers a glimpse into how global environmental accords can be done in a more enduring way than the Paris climate deal.
Why this matters: While the rumors churn about what President Trump might do with the mostly voluntary Paris deal, action quietly carries on with the legally binding Montreal Protocol, as reported in the latest Harder Line column yesterday.
Two big differences:
1. Political process: The Senate voted to approve the underlying Montreal treaty. The same must happen with an amendment agreed to last year in Kigali, Rwanda, which phases down powerful greenhouse gas emissions called hydrofluorocarbons. On the other hand, President Barack Obama had agreed to the Paris climate deal without input from Congress (because he knew he wouldn't get it).
2. Smaller bites: The Montreal Protocol tackles one sector and a narrower batch of emissions. With climate change and all of the global efforts that have tried to tackle it so far, emissions are ubiquitous and come from almost everything human life depends on. Companies have more certainty in the Montreal Protocol than they do in the Paris deal.
Shale snapshot: The Energy Information Administration's latest report on shale oil and gas forecasts that crude oil production from these plays will grow by another 79,000 barrels per day next month to reach 6.08 million barrels per day, largely driven by ongoing rise in production from the Permian Basin in Texas.
Hurricane Harvey crimped output in the Eagle Ford region to some degree, which led to a downward revision of production there.
Latest in trading: Reuters reports that oil is trading near its highest prices in five months on Tuesday "after fresh data showed key Middle Eastern producers continued to cut supply in line with an OPEC-led deal aimed at ending a crude glut."
New data: Average global temperatures on planet Earth for the first eight months of the year make 2017 the second-warmest in the modern temperature record that dates back to the late 1800s, trailing only 2016, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data released Monday.
The year to date has been 1.58°F above the 20th century average.
Why it matters: The latest evidence of a warm planet arrives amid intense focus on global climate change policy as the Trump administration abandons its predecessor's emissions rules and reiterates its plans to abandon the Paris climate deal (more on that above).
Go deeper: A few other data points in NOAA's latest global snapshot...
My Axios colleague Erin Ross reports...
Blasts from seismic air guns used to search for oil and gas beneath the ocean floor increase the death rate in scallops and change their behavior, according to a study published Monday. The U.S. Atlantic scallop fishery raked in $546 million dollars in 2012, making it one of the most lucrative in the country.
Why it matters: The Trump administration's plan to allow oil and gas exploration in Atlantic coastal areas has re-ignited a decades-old controversy about the impacts of tools like seismic airguns. This research means opposition may not just come from environmental groups and marine mammal advocates, but the shellfish industry as well.
Click here for the rest of the story in the Axios stream.