Welcome back. Let's head for the weekend . . .
Meet the new boss: Actually there is no new boss yet, but you probably know that yesterday brought fresh signs that the White House could push out Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replace him with current CIA chief Mike Pompeo.
The climate stakes: At first blush this would be a move even further to the right atop the agency that represents the U.S. in global climate change talks.
What we're hearing: While Pompeo is a contrast to Tillerson, who had unsuccessfully argued for remaining in the Paris treaty. He's also close to President Trump, which could make for a less disjointed U.S. posture at global summits, where nitty-gritty decisions are hashed out.
"Governments won't have to ask themselves whether or not the Secretary of State has the ear of the President," one veteran of global climate diplomacy tells Axios.
"Drilling down on the UNFCCC and Paris, that means we'll have more clarity on the strategic approach and fewer last minute decisions (as we saw with the delegation) once he's in place," this source adds, referring to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which the U.S. has been a party to for decades.
One big question: How Pompeo currently views the nexus between climate change and national security now that he's been heading the CIA for almost a year.
Solar trade: A group, informally called the Utility-Scale Solar Coalition, has registered to lobby via Smirnow Law, the firm of veteran trade attorney and solar expert John Smirnow. The coalition, which includes a dozen solar and broader energy companies, is battling potential tariffs on panel equipment imports.
Congress, part 1: A dozen House Republicans are balking at the provision in Senate tax legislation that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Read their letter here.
Congress, part 2: Greentech Media unwraps a wonky portion in the Senate tax package — which could pass today — called the Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax measure that has renewable power developers sounding the alarm.
A few more observations on yesterday's move by OPEC and Russia to extend their production-limiting deal for nine months through the end of 2018...
Markets: Via Reuters, oil prices are up somewhat today on the heels of the deal, but really the expectation of the extension has been baked into the cake, so there likely would have been sharp dive had the agreement collapsed.
Cloudy future: An analytical piece out this morning from Bloomberg's team points out that the agreement left "big questions unanswered," including:
OPEC and Russia are still reckoning with the U.S. shale surge. Bloomberg notes that while the production deal has helped to elevate prices, it creates a "quandary" for OPEC and allied producers about how to keep those prices high without igniting even greater shale growth.
Russia's posture: A big question going forward is the ability of powerhouse producers Saudi Arabia and Russia to sustain unity, especially as Russian companies have reportedly chafed at the continued limits.
What's next: The agreement text highlights that producers will take stock of where things stand mid-year.
Go deeper: Platts has a comprehensive rundown of the action in Vienna and the outcome here.
Two researchers with the nonpartisan think tank Resources For the Future have published a new analysis of Energy secretary Rick Perry's plan to guarantee at-risk coal-fired and nuclear power plants sufficient revenues in some power markets to keep them running.
Some key findings:
Why it matters: The paper is likely to be cited by critics of the plan at a time when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, an independent agency, is weighing Perry's controversial proposal.
What's next: Neil Chatterjee, FERC's interim chairman, wants the agency to take some kind of interim action by mid-December to provide a "lifeline" to at-risk plants while the commission weighs Perry's plan. But the prospects for his idea are highly uncertain.
Separately: The Wall Street Journal has a good look at the swirl of factors — notably the rise of renewables and gas plus flat demand — that are putting the squeeze on the coal and nuclear plants that the administration is trying to keep running.
The "Beautiful Earth" portion of NASA's broader Global Climate Change website has all kinds of fascinating satellite imagery. The one above is Canada's Mackenzie River taken from the Landsat 8 satellite on July 18, 2017.
The site notes that the river "plays a major role in Arctic climate as warmer fresh water mixes with cold seawater."