Good morning readers!
Two members of Guns N' Roses — Axl Rose and Duff McKagan — had birthdays this week. So let's jump into the river with today's intro tune...
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) have unveiled their Green New Deal resolution — a call to arms on climate and jobs that's long on ambition, but lacking in details and a political path to becoming policy.
Why it matters: It opens the next phase for a movement that has risen quickly to play an outsized role in the climate policy conversation and influence the Democratic 2020 White House contest.
The big picture: The non-binding resolution envisions a massively expanded federal role in emissions-cutting and economic intervention that takes its cues from World War II and New Deal-era programs.
Details: Some of the resolution's top-line goals include...
What to watch: AOC and Markey are holding a press conference today and the full list of initial co-sponsors will also emerge, so it'll be interesting to see how many of the 2020 Democratic hopefuls currently in Congress choose to sign on.
How it works: The many broad concepts in the resolution include "meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources."
The big question: There's no specific projected cost for what would be massive federal investments under the resolution.
What they're not saying: The plan is silent on whether it would impose a carbon tax. Some GND advocates have said a tax could be part of the policy — but don't see it as a central pillar.
What's next: The resolution is basically a political messaging document, so look for advocates to put more meat on its bones with legislation and papers in the coming months.
Axios' Alexi McCammond contributed to this reporting.
Generate readers probably know that the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico is the epicenter of the U.S. shale boom.
But that chart above — via the latest edition of the Dallas Fed's Energy Indicators report — really helps to tell the story.
Where it stands: The monthly report released yesterday actually shows a leveling off in the rig count, which is one metric of industry activity, in the Permian and Eagle Ford regions, and declines elsewhere in the U.S.
And some more petro-notes...
Earnings: Via Reuters, "French energy major Total said its net adjusted profit rose 10 percent in the final quarter of 2018, lifting its full year earnings by more than a quarter after record oil and gas production."
Discoveries: Exxon's mammoth find off Guyana's coast just keeps growing. The company announced 2 more discoveries yesterday in the area where it has found what it estimates are over 5 billion barrels of oil-equivalent.
Libya: Via the Wall Street Journal, "A Libyan general has seized the country’s largest oil field, according to officials, cementing control over one of the North African nation’s key economic resources and increasing the likelihood the facility will restart production."
Axios' Amy Harder breaks the news that Mandy Gunasekara, who has been instrumental in crafting President Trump’s regulatory rollbacks on a range of air pollution standards, is leaving EPA to start a political advocacy group defending those policies.
Driving the news: Gunasekara, deputy assistant administrator in EPA’s air office, is sending her resignation letter to Trump on Friday, according to a copy viewed by Axios.
What’s next: In her letter, Gunasekara didn’t get into details about her new organization other than to say it will defend Trump “and the many energy, regulatory and economic successes of your bold and pragmatic agenda.”
The big picture: Gunasekara, who describes herself in the letter as a conservative Mississippian, is one of several Trump administration officials in the environmental space who used to work for Sen. James Inhofe (R.-Okla.).
Last year was Earth's 4th-warmest year on record, coming in behind 2016, the planet's warmest recorded year, as well as 2015 and 2017, according to information released Wednesday by NOAA, NASA and the U.K. Met Office, Axios' Andrew Freedman reports.
Why it matters: The yearly rankings don't tell the whole story of long-term climate change, since natural variability can still push or pull an individual year up or down the rankings.
By the numbers: For 2018, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.42°F (0.79°C) above the 20th century average, according to NOAA.
Lyft and EVs: Via the Washington Post, "Environmentally conscious Lyft riders will soon be able to summon a hybrid or electric vehicle with the tap of an icon, rejecting the conventional combustion engine as their commuting mode of choice, according to a company announcement Wednesday."
GM and profits: "General Motors does not expect its electric vehicles to turn a profit for at least a few more years, CEO Mary Barra told investors Wednesday," CNBC reports.
Honda and batteries: Per Electrek, "Honda hasn’t been one of the most active automakers when it comes to electrification, but it is now making some big moves, including securing a battery cell supply contract for about 1 million electric vehicles with [Contemporary Amperex Technology Co.], one of the largest battery manufacturers in the world."
DRC President Felix Tshisekedi. Photo: Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images
Axios Expert Voices contributors Sagatom Sah and David Livingston write that the controversial election of Felix Tshisekedi to the presidency of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at the end of last year raises many new questions about the country’s future, especially with respect to the global cobalt market.
The big picture: The world’s cobalt supply is inextricably tied to the DRC’s political stability, because the country holds half of all known, economically recoverable cobalt reserves — currently accounting for 60% of global production.
Why it matters: Cobalt, which the U.S. considers “vital” to national security and economic prosperity, is an essential component for many large-scale energy storage systems and EV batteries.
Where it stands: Cobalt shortages are already expected by the early 2020s because of rapid demand for energy storage technology, which would drive up battery costs unless alternative chemistries are developed.
Background: Even before December’s election, concerns over resource nationalism in the DRC were growing.
The big question: It’s unclear whether Tshisekedi will now follow through on the decree, abandon it while leaving the new mining law in place, or reform or revoke the law altogether.
What to watch: The coming months will reveal whether Tshisekedi breaks from Kabila’s policies. Regardless of the administration's decision, renewed political violence could upset global supply by disrupting the country’s considerable production.
Saha is an independent international energy policy analyst. Livingston is deputy director for climate and advanced energy at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center.