Good morning from New York, where I'm making a quick trip for some Climate Week-related energy events. Are you here too?
D.C. readers: Join Mike Allen for breakfast at our News Shapers tomorrow. He'll go deeper on the rapid rise of vaping and why it matters with FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, American Vaping Association President Gregory Conley, and CATCH Global Foundation CEO Duncan Van Dusen. RSVP
And, my latest Harder Line column is catching onto a very big trend in climate change. I'll share a bit of that, and then Ben Geman will get you up to speed on the rest of the news.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Addressing climate change isn’t just about moving to cleaner forms of energy anymore. It’s about literally taking out some of the heat-trapping gases already in our skies.
Why it matters: There's so much buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, scientists say we’ve reached a point that some needs to be removed to limit Earth’s temperature rise and avoid the worst impacts of a warmer world. Technology exists to do it, but it’s costly, zany-sounding and not well known. That's starting to change now.
“The big story is you can’t get there simply by lowering carbon emissions. I think that window has closed. That’s a pretty revolutionary concept.”— Andrew Steer, president, World Resources Institute
Driving the news: A seminal report to be released Oct. 8 by a United Nations scientific body is expected to underscore the need for transformative technologies in order to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius relative to more than a century ago.
The big picture: Momentum among foundations, universities and other experts in this space is growing rather suddenly. That’s notable, given that it’s addressing what is a centuries-long problem.
“If you’re not tackling carbon, you’re not actually tackling the problem. Everything else we’ve done so far has been a bank shot. Now is the time to step up.”— Julio Friedmann, former Obama official and head of Columbia University's new initiative
Removing CO2 from the air can be done a few different ways, including planting trees that naturally soak up carbon dioxide. A leading line of research is backing technology capturing far more CO2 faster than trees ever could.
A small handful of companies around the world are pursuing this, including:
What’s next: There needs to be a business case for capturing CO2. That means turning what has long been seen as a waste product — carbon dioxide — into a product that can make money.
Two things to watch:
Go deeper: Read the whole thing in the Axios stream.
Crude prices are climbing in trading Monday, a day after OPEC and allied producers — notably Russia — declined to commit to further production increases, arguing there's enough crude on the market.
Driving the news: A meeting in Algeria ended with a statement declaring "satisfaction regarding the current oil market outlook, with an overall healthy balance between supply and demand."
However, the committee monitoring the production-management agreement, which was relaxed in June, also said it had "urged countries with spare capacity to work with customers to meet their demand during the remaining month of 2018."
The Saudis and their allies appear to be trying to walk a fine line between accommodating Mr. Trump and not putting so much oil into the market that prices crash — as they did in 2014, damaging their petroleum-dependent economies.
What they're saying: Per Reuters, "Commodity merchants Trafigura and Mercuria said on Monday that Brent could rise to $90 per barrel by Christmas and even above $100 in early 2019 as markets tighten once U.S. sanctions against Iran are implemented from November."
OPEC's latest long-term forecast sees global oil demand rising through at least 2040, effectively rebuffing analyses released since last year's edition that project an earlier peak in the world's crude thirst.
Why it matters: The timing of the eventual peak in crude oil demand is relevant to the long-term planning of oil producers and companies — not to mention the trajectory of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.
By the numbers: The cartel's 2018 World Oil Outlook released Sunday sees global demand growing to reach 111.7 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2040, which is actually a tad higher than last year's 2040 projection of 111.1 million bpd.
The intrigue: The report underscores the lack of consensus on when the world's demand for oil — which is currently around 99 million bpd and rising — will eventually crest.
What's next: In the nearer-term, the report sees demand for OPEC crude declining for several years after 2020, thanks to surging output from the U.S. shale boom and some other sources.
Go deeper: S&P Global Platts breaks down the OPEC report in detail here.
Owners of a troubled, over-budget nuclear power project in Georgia will decide today whether to cancel the ongoing construction of the two new reactors.
Why it matters: The expansion of Southern Company's Vogtle site is the only nuclear power project in the country. Its demise would be a major blow to the industry that has seen hopes for a U.S. renaissance fade.
Where it stands: Southern subsidiary Georgia Power, which has the largest stake in what has ballooned into a $27 billion project, has signaled that it supports pressing ahead.
The intrigue: The project is supported by federal loan guarantees agreed to under the Obama administration, and the Trump administration supports completion of the reactors.
Go deeper: The Associated Press has more on the DOE letters to the project owners here.
General Motors is overhauling its electric vehicle management with several internal moves as the automaker works to have 20 EV models launched worldwide by 2023.
Why it matters: The moves signal increased focus on EVs by major automakers — even though they hold only a tiny share of the market today.
Driving the news: Pam Fletcher will take the newly created position of VP for innovation that reports directly to CEO Mary Barra, GM said. She's currently the VP of global EV programs.
The details: Parks, in a statement, said Ableson will "develop the partnerships, incentives and investments needed to create the necessary electric vehicle charging infrastructure to remove a critical barrier to acceptance of electrification."
GM wasn't the only important automaker to announce news this weekend. Porsche said Sunday that it will no longer offer cars with diesel propulsion and instead focus more of its attention on hybrid and electric vehicles.
The big picture: Porsche stressed that it's "not demonizing diesel," and that the decision is simply a case of demand for hybrid models skyrocketing at the same time interest in diesel is falling.
The intrigue: The move also can't be untethered from the effects of VW's diesel emissions-cheating scandal.