Good morning and welcome back!
At this moment in 1989, De La Soul was atop the Billboard hip-hop album charts with "3 Feet High And Rising," so one of those cuts is today's intro track...
The nonprofit World Resources Institute has a new paper out today arguing that a carbon tax should include provisions that enable policy adjustments if it's not proving effective enough.
Why this matters: Carbon taxes have no political traction in Congress right now. But work by WRI highlights various efforts to inform or influence policymakers if — and that's a big if! — a window opens down the line.
On the wonk side: Others working on CO2 tax policy design include Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy, which launched a policy research initiative this year, and the Brookings Institution, which has long worked on the topic.
One level deeper: Under the WRI proposal, if emissions-cutting "benchmarks" are not being hit, triggered changes could include...
The intrigue: Americans for Carbon Dividends is pushing a plan crafted by the affiliated Climate Leadership Council — whose leaders include James Baker and George Schultz — that phases out EPA rules alongside a tax that begins at $40 per ton and rises.
Thought bubble: Given the massive headwinds facing U.S. carbon taxes, debating their design kind of feels like debating what to have for lunch after we colonize Saturn.
News from Vienna: In preparation of the official OPEC meeting in less than 24 hours, here are a some items of interest...
Aramco IPO: A number of outlets are reporting that Saudi Arabia's energy minister on Thursday appeared to suggest that the planned IPO of state oil giant Aramco, already delayed, might not even happen in 2019.
President Trump's hawkish trade policies could stymie the global economy and hence have the knock-on effect of slowing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions too, according to Carey King, assistant director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, who wrote a new piece for Axios Expert Voices. He writes...
State of play: When it comes to the economy, Trump's "America First" mantra has meant renegotiating existing trade treaties and imposing tariffs on imported goods such as aluminum, steel and solar panels. Because they prioritize growth, G7 leaders, free-trade proponents and most economists oppose Trump’s anti-globalized stance.
Yes, but: Environmentalists and steady-state economists (i.e., those who study the physical constraints on economic growth) might secretly want to cheer. Why? More global economic activity translates to more natural resource extraction and GHG emissions, and vice versa. If you want to lower GHG emissions, tanking the economy is one way to do so.
The bottom line: Trump might think he is helping the U.S. economy and workers by imposing tariffs. But by introducing these isolationist policies, he might slow globalization and therefore reduce GHG emissions — something he doesn’t care much about at all.
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My thought bubble: On the other hand, your Generate host feels it's important to note that the carbon effects of a global trade war are hard to gauge.
LNG: A new Financial Times story provides an in-depth look at opportunities and trade-related headwinds facing plans for investments in new U.S. liquefied natural gas export projects.
Trade war fallout: Per Reuters, "A scheduled trip to West Virginia by executives from China Energy Investment Corp to discuss a planned $83.7 billion investment in the state has been canceled, the latest victim of a growing trade war between the United States and China."
EPA saga: Via Politico, "Sen. Jim Inhofe is back in Scott Pruitt's corner after meeting with the embattled EPA chief Tuesday night — and 'a little embarrassed' to have doubted his longtime friend from Oklahoma in the first place."
“Rarely has a chart of three straight lines been so striking.”— Spencer Dale, chief economist, BP
Why it matters: He noted that electricity generation accounts for a third of global carbon emissions. Coal is the most CO2-intensive source.
On the record: Dale called it the most "worrying" chart in this year's annual data report.
Go deeper: Read my earlier story on how BP data highlights the persistence of fossil fuels.
2.37 million: As in 2.37 million barrels per day of U.S. crude oil exports, which was the U.S. average last week.
New normal: Of the 9 times that exports have averaged over 2 million daily barrels over a week, 8 of them have occurred this year.