Welcome back! I'll admit it: This newsletter won't be as good as the men's Boston Marathon finish.
That aside, let's wish a happy birthday to Peter Garrett, the frontman of Midnight Oil, who play us into the news...
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Microsoft is almost doubling its internal carbon tax that helps fund the company's sustainability work and is joining a Big Oil-backed group pushing for a federal emissions fee.
Driving the news: Those are 2 of several announcements Tuesday that arrive amid scrutiny of Big Tech's carbon footprint and work with oil companies.
What's next: Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a blog post that the company will...
For a sense of scale, Microsoft said that last year it collected $20 million from the tax to pay for internal carbon neutrality work and fund grantees of its AI for Earth program.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is one of the first Big Tech companies to join the Climate Leadership Council. It includes ExxonMobil BP, Shell and Total, plus other corporate giants outside the oil sector.
What they're saying: Lucas Joppa, Microsoft's chief environmental officer, said there's huge potential in using AI and other advanced tech to help industries cut emissions.
By the numbers: The company released new Pricewaterhouse Coopers UK research it commissioned on AI applications in energy, water, farming and transportation.
But, but, but: Tech giants are under scrutiny for their huge energy use and business projects with fossil fuel clients.
The most aggressive part of Sen. Elizabeth Warren's new energy and public lands plan is both old news and worth writing about.
What's happening: On Monday, the 2020 White House hopeful said that if elected, she would end the sale of new oil-and-gas leases offshore and on federal lands.
Why it matters: These regions are an important part of U.S. production, although their share has fallen since the advent of the shale boom that's largely on state and private lands.
The intrigue: Warren signed onto proposed legislation (that went nowhere in 2015) that would bar new leasing.
What's next: I'll be curious to see if other candidates make the same pledge beyond Sen. Bernie Sanders, who led the 2015 bill with Sens. Jeff Merkley and Patrick Leahy and has long been against fossil fuel development.
The big picture: The leasing pledge is part of a wider package announced by Warren of public lands-related measures, which include...
The Supreme Court yesterday declined to take up challenges to appellate rulings that upheld state subsidies in Illinois and New York aimed at keeping nuclear plants from shutting down.
Why it matters: A number of climate advocates fear that allowing substantial amounts of nuclear generation — which is facing stiff market pressures — to go offline will be a major setback.
What's happening: Here's Utility Dive on the high court's refusal to hear the challenges to so-called zero emissions credits programs in 2 states...
What they're saying: The rejection of the petition to review the appellate rulings affirms that "states have broad legal authority to enact programs that pay clean energy generators for their production of zero-emission energy," Harvard electricity law expert Ari Peskoe said in comments circulated to reporters.
Axios' Andrew Freedman reports ... March may have been unusually cold in parts of the U.S., but average temperatures globally ticked upward to rank as one of the top 3 warmest Marches on record, new data from climate groups in Europe, Japan and the U.S. show.
Why it matters: The new data indicate that global average temperatures during 2019 are on track to make it another top 5 warmest year, should these trends continue.
The big picture: According to preliminary NASA data, the globe just had its 3rd-warmest March on record, with a global average surface temperature anomaly of 1.11°C, or 1.99°F, above the 20th century average (1951–1980).
Agencies: "The Interior Department’s internal watchdog opened an investigation into ethics complaints against former oil and gas lobbyist David Bernhardt on Monday, four days after the Senate confirmed him as the agency’s secretary," the Washington Post reports.
Startups: Via TechCrunch, "Byton, the Chinese electric car startup, today announced that Carsten Breitfeld, the former BMW executive and Byton co-founder who had been the CEO and was most recently chairman, has left the company “to start a new adventure within the start-up industry.”
Crude oil: The New York Times explores why the Trump administration has reached a "critical juncture" in its oil sanction against Venezuela and Iran.