Good morning, and happy Thanksgiving (week)! I'm grateful for you, dear readers!
My latest Harder Line column is pegged to our broader series at Axios about what matters in the 2020 election and beyond. I'll share a glimpse of that, and then Ben Geman will you get up to speed on the latest news.
Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,235 words, < 5-minute read.
Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: J. Countess/Getty Images
Climate change is playing a larger — and more polarizing — role than ever before in a presidential election.
Why it matters: In the past, the topic barely registered with voters and candidates were less polarized. Today, all Democratic candidates are treating it as a crisis, with detailed plans and funding sources to address it, while President Trump ignores the problem and bashes those plans.
The big picture: The impacts of climate change, like more intense wildfires and more severe flooding, are increasing in frequency. Meanwhile, ways to solve the problem, like renewable energy, are becoming more affordable, even while the science increasingly says the problem is growing more dire.
Flashback: Here’s a brief run down memory lane.
Climate change has received far more attention among Democratic candidates than it ever has in the past.
The other side: Congressional Republicans, who have mostly ignored climate change for the last decade, are looking to respond to what is a growing public opinion trend of younger people being more worried about climate change than older people.
The bottom line: While it won’t be the top issue in the election, we’re entering a new high water mark for climate change and its political saliency.
Global coal-fired electricity production is projected to drop 3% this year, the largest decline on record, concludes an analysis from three think tanks published by the website Carbon Brief.
Why it matters: Reining in carbon emissions from coal-fired generation is a pillar of every major pathway for limiting temperature rise.
The big picture, per the report: "The record drop also raises the prospect of slowing global CO2 emissions growth in 2019."
What they found: Increases in non-fossil power sources, coal-plant retirements, CO2 pricing, and the slowing global economy all contributed to the decline.
Between the lines: The report explores regional developments that led to the overall drop, including...
Tesla's Cybertruck. Photo courtesy of Tesla
But, but, but: There's a key footnote. The orders require only a $100 refundable deposit, so these numbers are an important but imperfect gauge of how many Cybertrucks Tesla might ultimately sell.
What they're saying: "Polarizing" is a word that has surfaced repeatedly since the rollout (and The Verge compiled some amusing reactions here).
The big picture: Tesla's unveiling comes as GM and Ford, as well as newer players, are planning electric pickups too.
Sales of gasoline-powered light-duty vehicles in the U.S. are unlikely to ever top their 2016 level of 17.3 million, according to an analysis from the think tank Third Way.
Why it matters: Transportation is the country's largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.
The big picture: The report adds to the emerging signs of "peak ICE."
What's next: "Sales of gasoline powered vehicles will continue to fall due to the strong growth and now competitive viability of electric vehicles," the report predicts.
By now you probably know that billionaire Mike Bloomberg jumped into the 2020 Democratic primary fight on Sunday.
Why it matters: Bloomberg has worked for a long time on climate change, and his rollout signaled that it's among the big topics he'll emphasize.
The big picture: Bloomberg has bankrolled a years-long campaign that has helped hasten the shutdown of coal-fired power plants.
Our thought bubble: While climate's political salience has risen this cycle, several 2020 hopefuls are pushing aggressive plans.
Why you'll hear about this again: Bloomberg has the cash to get his message out. He's reportedly spending at least $37 million on TV ads over the next two weeks.
Oil-and-gas: "Carl Icahn plans to nominate a slate of 10 directors in an attempt to seize control of the board of U.S. oil and gas producer Occidental Petroleum Corp., according to people familiar with the matter," Bloomberg reports.
Renewables: Per Reuters, Mitsubishi will buy Eneco in a deal that values the renewables-focused Dutch energy firm at $4.5 billion.