Good morning and welcome back!
Your Generate host is under the weather, so let's keep our energy and spirits up with some cheesy but well-crafted '80s stuff as today's intro tune...
A new study in Nature concludes that using battery-powered drones for consumer package deliveries can be more climate-friendly than diesel trucks under certain circumstances.
Why it matters: The analysis of greenhouse gas emissions from competing delivery methods comes as corporate giants like Amazon, Google and UPS are piloting or exploring the use of drones. This provides an early glimpse at how tech-driven shifts in consumer preferences could affect the environment in the decades ahead.
The details: The research team modeled total emissions from trips using various drone sizes, package weights, warehousing needs and electricity sources in both California (where natural gas, renewables and nuclear energy provide the electricity mix) and Missouri (where coal is the dominant power source).
What we're hearing: Two major companies in the drone delivery space tell Axios that the climate effect of the technology is part of their analysis.
Go deeper: Read the full story here.
Scoot: My Axios colleague Kia Kokalitcheva reports that electric scooter-sharing startup Bird has raised $15 million in Series A funding, led by Craft Ventures.
Tesla-China: Disagreement over a proposed Shanghai factory is threatening Tesla's dream to get a foothold into China's emerging EV market, Bloomberg reports.
One possible future: A new World Economic Forum report offers suggestions for how the trends of urbanization, EVs, ride-sharing, autonomous vehicles and decentralized energy systems (whew!) can better converge to provide environmental and social benefits.
There are two interesting pieces discussing ExxonMobil and the forces it is facing on climate change issues from various sources: activist investors, consumer pressures and regulatory investigations and fines.
Exxon CEO interview: Forbes has an exclusive interview with CEO Darren Woods, who offers a peek into what Forbes said could be the company's "attitudinal sea change" towards climate change.
Aggressive response: Bloomberg reports ExxonMobil's legal team is going after at least 30 people and organizations, including the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts, for allegedly conspiring against the company in a coordinated campaign.
EPA administrator Scott Pruitt. Photo: Pete Marovich / Getty Images
Axios' Khorri Atkinson has a report on the scrutiny that Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt is currently facing on his expensive travels...
Pruitt says the reason he's been taking numerous first-class flights or military jets at the expense of taxpayers is due to security concerns.
What's happening: The Washington Post reported on Sunday that tax-funded travel by Pruitt and his top aides cost at least $90,000 during a two-week stretch in June of last year.
Why this matters: A handful of Trump administration officials including Pruitt have been under intense scrutiny for flying charter, military or private jets paid for by taxpayers.
Reality check: There's no sign yet that Pruitt's travel habits are undercutting his standing with the White House or congressional Republicans, who have applauded his aggressive moves to unwind Obama-era regulations.