I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was visiting Norway to tour its energy facilities. My latest "Harder Line" column is reported from there and even weaves in the recent White House report on socialism. I'll share a glimpse of that — and then Ben will guide you the rest of the way.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
MONGSTAD, Norway — This Nordic nation offers a window into how an economy fueled by oil and natural gas can attempt aggressive action on climate change.
Why it matters: It sounds contradictory, but given that our world has remained 81% dependent upon fossil fuels for the past 30 years, cutting greenhouse gas emissions while using these fuels is probably going to be unavoidable. In two separate upcoming decisions, Norway will show the extent to which it’s committed to its climate ambitions and diversifying its wealth, which is largely derived from oil.
The big picture: President Trump has said he likes Norway, though it’s not clear why.
Driving the news:
Between the lines: Inaction on either of these fronts would raise a difficult prospect: If Norway — rich from its fossil fuels and genuinely ambitious about addressing climate change — doesn’t follow through, who would?
What’s next: After the decision about the sovereign wealth fund, the focus will turn to whether the carbon capturing project goes through.
Go deeper in the Axios stream.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Autonomous vehicles are an energy story as the technology works in concert with electrification and ride-hailing to help reshape mobility.
So I highly recommend our weekend deep dive led by Axios' AV correspondent Joann Muller and managing editor Alison Snyder, who write...
Already, people are abandoning cars for ride-hailing and tooling around on electric scooters. Computer-assisted driving is giving way to prototype autonomous vehicles that share the road in some cities with pedestrians, bicyclists and traditional vehicles.
The big picture: The vision is that driverless cars will chauffeur you anywhere while you relax, work or socialize.
Execs are trying to lower expectations:
What's next: The technology requires more intensive testing and development to be able to predict how other cars will behave — and surpass humans at driving. Safety regulations need to catch up with technological innovation. And legal questions need answering, such as who is to blame if an AV causes an accident?
The bottom line: None of this has changed the minds of investors. They are pouring in cash, and company valuations are getting frothier.
Go deeper: The whole deep dive is worthy of your time.
Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right candidate whose misogyny, racism and reverence for military dictators has made him one of Latin America's most polarizing figures, won Brazil's presidency yesterday with over 55% of the vote.
Why it matters: Brazil is already an important oil producer at roughly 3 million barrels per day, and has been auctioning offshore tracts thought to contain huge hydrocarbon resources to some of the world's largest energy companies.
What's next: One oil executive told S&P Global Platts recently that "Bolsonaro represents the current, favorable status quo although there could be some hiccups."
On the environment, this Washington Post analysis points out that while he's backed away from plans to abandon the Paris climate deal, "that doesn’t mean Bolsonaro has suddenly become the Lorax."
The views of Paulo Guedes, the University of Chicago-trained economist advising Bolsonaro, were examined in a Reuters piece:
Axios' Felix Salmon has a few thoughts on Tesla's big news last week and what it says about the stock market more broadly...
Congratulations to Elon Musk, who not only missed out on being owned by the Saudis, but who also celebrated Tesla's most profitable quarter ever last week.
The bottom line: Stock-price valuations are weird, and don't do a great job of reflecting present-day fundamentals. Corporate America, as a whole, is looking very healthy right now. It's worth remembering that current share prices would look fantastic if they hadn't been so ridiculously frothy in the recent past.
Shell is jumping into the high-stakes fight over auto regulations.
What they're saying: I noticed that in some newly available comments filed with regulators, the oil giant says U.S. policy should be "consistent with the aim of the Paris Agreement."
Where it stands: California is fighting to keep its power to maintain tougher rules even if the federal standards are rolled back. But automakers fear that would create a messy patchwork and want California and the EPA to strike a deal that preserves a single nationwide set of rules.
The intrigue: The oil giant's views signal how the Trump administration's dismantling of Obama-era climate rules puts the White House to the right of even some big fossil fuel companies.
The big picture: The fight over Obama-era auto rules — a pillar of the former president's climate policy — is pretty messy.