Happy Friday! Let's head for the weekend . . .
My colleague Amy Harder looks behind a story that went viral yesterday...
Energy secretary Rick Perry said at our Axios and NBC event Thursday morning that fossil fuels can help prevent sexual assault.
Our thought bubble: Perry's comments, which got picked up by numerous other media outlets, came off as inarticulate and opened him up to a barrage of criticism that he was both inaccurate and insensitive to victims of sexual assault. The underlying point he was implying — fossil-fuel powered electricity helps ensure safety — is a valid though too narrow point.
Gritty details: Perry recounted a story from a recent trip he took to Africa and said it would take fossil fuels to prevent sexual assault there. What would have been a fairer comment is to say it takes electricity access (powered by whatever fuel) to ensure safety by providing light in otherwise dark places.
Some people interpreted his comments as him using sexual assault as a way to tout fossil fuels over other resources like wind and solar. Fossil fuels remain the cheapest option for electricity in many parts of the world, but renewables are catching up. In fact, a top energy analyst — Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency — recently predicted large swaths of Africa could be powered by renewables (and natural gas) instead of coal.
Click here for the rest of the story in the Axios stream.
More from the Axios-NBC event:
Get ready: A major federal report that shows powerful scientific evidence of human-caused global warming is slated for release this afternoon.
Why it matters: The official release of the report, which is not expected to be much different from drafts that have long been public, will put a fresh spotlight on the Trump administration's policy stance on global warming.
Yes, but: Don't look for the study to affect the administration's posture on climate science, which is in fact somewhat isolated from the official findings of the multi-agency U.S. Global Change Research Program being unveiled today.
Go deeper: NPR looks at some of the reports findings here, while a former Obama-era DOE official offers a critical assessment in the WSJ here.
Last night: The White House said President Trump is nominating Linda Capuano to head the Energy Information Administration, which is the DOE's statistical and analytical arm.
Why it matters: EIA provides lots of closely watched, market-moving data on energy markets, such as weekly reports on petroleum inventories. They also write major forecasts of energy production and consumption trends in the U.S. and globally, among a suite of other offerings.
Who she is: Capuano is currently a fellow in energy technology at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.
Prior roles for Capuano, who has a PhD in materials science and engineering from Stanford, include VP of technology at Marathon Oil, a very large independent oil company.
Milestone: If confirmed, Capuano would be the first woman to be an EIA administrator.
Quick lay of the land: The long-awaited House GOP tax package unveiled yesterday got the energy world buzzing. Among the relevant provisions...
Why it matters: The tax code has been an important driver of expanded deployment of low-carbon energy technologies.
What's next: A political and lobbying fight.
Sounding the alarm: The American Wind Energy Association, wind industry's main trade group, said lowering the value of the credit from 2.3 cents per kilowatt house to 1.5 cents would put over $50 billion in planned investments at risk.
Yes, but: Changes to the decades-old tax credit aren't the existential threat to the wind industry that they once were, thanks to the drop in technology costs over the years. The chart above is from the new Lazard report on electricity generation costs that we looked at yesterday.
Quick take on EVs: Turning to the proposal to nix the electric vehicle credit, my Axios colleague and EV expert Steve LeVine passed along some thoughts about whether the change will truly hurt the emerging sector:
FERC: Via The Hill, the Senate yesterday confirmed nominees for the two open seats on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Litigation: Via the Washington Post, Stanford's Mark Jacobson is suing the National Academy of Sciences and the lead author of a paper it published that took a highly critical view of Jacobson's work. Jacobson alleges they knowingly presented false information.
Transparency: As I noted on Twitter yesterday, the U.S. is formally abandoning plans to implement the standards of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a decision that has been in the works for months.
Oil markets: The Wall Street Journal examines some of the forces that have pushed oil prices to their highest levels in years.
Exxon: Bloomberg looks at the oil-and-gas giant's investments in alternative energy research, including work to make biofuels from algae.