Good morning! Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,234 words, < 5 minutes.
And we're not far past the 1988 moment when The Pogues released their 3rd album, "If I Should Fall From Grace With God," which opens today's edition...
Two pedestrians in Jiangtan Park on Jan. 27 during the lockdown in Wuhan, China. Photo: Getty Images
Some analysts are beginning to wonder if oil markets are overly spooked by the potential for the coronavirus to dent energy demand as travel and economic activity are crimped.
What they're saying: "Several questions remain unanswered about the potential fallout from the coronavirus, but if the experience from the 2003 SARS outbreak is any indication, demand worries are likely overdone," Barclays said in a note (emphasis added).
Where it stands: OPEC "wants to extend current oil output cuts until at least June, with the possibility of deeper reductions on the table if oil demand in China is significantly impacted by the spread of a new coronavirus," Reuters reports this morning.
Why it matters: The human health toll is what matters most, with at least 107 people dead so far. But the coronavirus is also rattling markets, and is arriving when the oil market was already awash in supplies and demand growth was modest.
By the numbers: Barclays' note sees global crude oil demand loss related to the virus at around 600,000 to 800,000 barrels per day in Q1 and around 200,000 for the full year, which they note is less than 0.2% of global demand.
RBC's oil analysts teamed up with their in-house data scientists to examine the outbreak's granular, real-time effects on flight traffic within China and major Asian airports.
What they found: Departures from the five largest Chinese airports fell by nearly 800 flights this past weekend compared to the prior one, and air traffic in the five airports closet to Wuhan has dropped by nearly half in recent days.
But, but, but: "We have not observed a change in consumer traffic in the busiest Asian airports outside of China."
A new International Energy Agency analysis highlights the importance of battery storage paired with renewables in helping to decarbonize power.
The big picture: "With ambitious plans to use renewables — particularly solar PV — to satisfy rapidly increasing electricity demand, India will be the country with the greatest need for additional flexibility in the coming decades," it states.
Why it matters: India, the focus of the analysis, is the world's third-largest greenhouse gas emitter (after China and the U.S.) and suffers from terrible air quality problems.
What they did: They looked at projected future coal-fired and renewable power capacity in India under two scenarios.
What they found: The "cheap batteries" scenario enables much more renewables deployment, shows coal plateauing in roughly a decade, and projects India's power-related CO2 emissions start to decline just after 2030.
MarketWatch looks ahead to a pair of major earnings reports coming Friday.
Where it stands: Exxon is under especially close scrutiny. Bloomberg notes that yesterday their stock closed at a 10-year low. From their piece...
Threat level: Via Reuters, "Another year of poor profit could require Exxon to re-evaluate its bold spending plans or weaken its ability to weather the next oil-price downturn, say oil analysts."
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Two companies with different climate technologies — trapping emissions from industrial plants and removing CO2 already in the atmosphere — are teaming up.
Driving the news: The Canadian firm Svante and the Swiss company Climeworks AG have a new "joint development agreement" to pilot the combination of the former's industrial capture system alongside Climeworks direct air capture (DAC) tech.
Why it matters: As this recent post from Norway's Center for International Climate and Environmental Research points out, almost all modeled emissions scenarios consistent with meeting the Paris Agreement goals envision some level of carbon capturing and negative emissions technologies.
The big picture: "By working together, the two companies can accelerate the development and adoption of both technologies for customers across industries and applications," yesterday's announcement states.
Where it stands: The DAC industry is in pretty early stages and only occurs at a very small scale. Climeworks opened a plant in Switzerland in 2017.
What they're saying: Noah Deich, executive director of the group Carbon180, tells me there's a logic behind the pairing and called the effort "pretty novel."
UCLA law prof Ann Carlson has a hot take (sorry!) about the demise of climate litigation brought by young people who sought, on constitutional grounds, sweeping government steps to cut emissions.
The big picture: She argues that the ninth circuit's dismissal this month effectively had a silver lining for advocates by preventing the case from ever making it before the conservative-led Supreme Court.
Here's part of her new(ish) post on the school's Legal Planet blog...
"The only question about the outcome in the Supreme Court would be the grounds for dismissal of the case."
"A very real possibility is that the Supreme Court could issue a decision that seriously limits standing doctrine for environmental plaintiffs more generally, or at least for any plaintiffs bringing a case alleging harm from the government’s failure to address climate change."
Geopolitics: "Russia has said it will complete construction of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea without the help of foreign companies, marking a victory for the US which imposed sanctions in an attempt to halt the project," FT reports.
States: Per The New York Times, "New Jersey will become the first state to require that builders take into account the impact of climate change, including rising sea levels, in order to win government approval for projects, Gov. Philip D. Murphy announced on Monday."
Renewables: Via Greentech Media, asset management giant BlackRock "has a new multibillion-dollar renewable energy fund in the works, and a good chunk of it may go to batteries."
Mobility: "Bird has acquired European scooter rental rival Circ, founded by Delivery Hero co-founder Lukasz Gadowski, and has raised an additional $75 million for its Series D round (for a total of $350 million)," Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports.