Good morning! Ben Geman is out dealing with a family matter, so we're going to keep this short with the top news until he returns.
Situational awareness: Ahead of the Trump administration's May 2 deadline to ban Iranian oil purchases, Iran's oil minister said that bringing the nation's oil exports to zero "is an illusion," WSJ's Summer Said tweets.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Tuesday that Beto O’Rourke’s new climate change plan isn’t aggressive enough, especially when compared with the Green New Deal — but in fact neither are tethered to economic reality or precedent.
Driving the news: Backers of the GND, including the New York Democrat, are pushing a goal of net zero U.S. greenhouse gas emissions as soon as 2030. The new plan by O’Rourke, one of numerous Democratic presidential hopefuls, calls for that by 2050.
Reality check: Those plans would require a revolutionary level of political, economic and technological change to occur in an amount of time that's unprecedented in American history.
The big picture: Oil, natural gas and coal make up a little more than 80% of America’s energy consumption. These fossil fuels emit the lion's share of GHG emissions, so they either need to be eliminated or their emissions need to be captured to reach the progressives' goals.
One metric to gauge reducing carbon dioxide emissions is the rate of decarbonization of the U.S. economy. That’s a reduction in the ratio of CO2 emissions to GDP.
By the numbers, per Pielke:
What we’re watching: To what extent other Democratic candidates, especially Joe Biden, seek to chase these lofty targets (or not, as Ben suggested Tuesday).
Go deeper: Democrats’ left turn on climate change
Oil markets shrugged off the instability in Venezuela for what's becoming a pretty common reason: U.S. production strength, Axios' Nick Johnston writes.
Why it matters: Rioting in the streets of Caracas and escalating sanctions on Iran would typically be enough to rattle markets. But oil fell "amid signs of a sharp increase in U.S. crude inventories," per Bloomberg.
Driving the news: Oil markets have "keenly watched oil producer Venezuela, where opposition leader Juan Guaido called for an uprising against President Nicolas Maduro. Many observers fear this could lead to escalating violence and further disruptions to crude supply," Reuters reports via CNBC.
The bottom line: "The glut alarm bells are ringing louder in the U.S.," an analyst told Reuters.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
We knew it was important, of course, but a new CNN poll released yesterday shows it's solidly in the top of Democratic primary voters' issues for 2020, Axios' David Nather reports.
By the numbers:
Yes, but: A big caveat is that the Democratic sample was small — just 411 voters (it was a subsample in a larger national poll). That means the margin of error was 5.9 percentage points.
The bottom line: With numbers like these, it's no surprise that O'Rourke and Jay Inslee have put climate policy at the top of their agendas. And it will likely be harder for other candidates to get through the primary without spelling out detailed policies of their own.
France delays nuclear power shutdowns to tackle climate change (FT)
Saudi Aramco looks to become a big natural gas player (Bloomberg)
How air conditioners could actually help address climate change (Scientific American)
Bid for Anadarko Petroleum is a watershed moment for Permian exploration (Forbes)
That’s the number of times more energy a massive pumped hydro project under construction in Australia can store compared to the world’s largest battery that Tesla built in South Australia in 2017.
Driving the news: The Australian government recently announced final approval for the pumped hydro project, which moves water from one big reservoir to another in mountains, in order to generate hydropower on demand as a clean-burning backup for when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining.