At this moment 50 years ago, Big Brother and the Holding Company were atop the Billboard album charts with "Cheap Thrills." So that means the late Janis Joplin brings us today's intro tune...
General Motors is urging the Trump administration to create what amounts to a national electric vehicle sales mandate that's modeled on a program in place in California and followed by 9 other states.
Why it matters: The powerful automaker's proposal Friday adds a new wrinkle to the intense, high-stakes battle over administration moves to scuttle auto mileage and carbon emissions standards for 2021–2025 imposed in the Obama-era.
The big picture: GM says its proposal for a national zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) program could lead to addition of 7 million "long-range" EVs on U.S. roads by 2030.
Where it stands: It's part of wider comments that GM is filing today on a joint EPA-Transportation Department plan to freeze the escalating Obama standards in 2020 rather than allowing them to keep rising.
The intrigue: GM and other big automakers have applauded White House moves to rewrite auto mileage and emissions rules, calling the Obama-era mandates too onerous and out of step with consumer preferences.
Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president of global product development, told reporters yesterday that GM's wants to avoid a "protracted legal battle."
But, but, but: Environmentalists I touched based with were critical.
The bottom line: Autotrader analyst Michelle Krebs tells Bloomberg...
"GM is taking a leadership position in at least offering an alternative to what could be this endless battle between the federal government and California. ... Whether the administration will accept it, that’s another question.”
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
A group of roughly 3 dozen scientists and other energy experts are claiming a seminal United Nations report on climate change is biased against nuclear power, Axios' Amy Harder and Andrew Freedman report.
Why it matters: A global entity like the UN climate panel can have a big impact on the acceptance of nuclear power, as calls to address climate change intensify and the challenges facing the nuclear industry grow around the world.
The big picture: Nuclear power, which provides 30% of the world's zero-carbon electricity, is facing international skepticism over past accidents and public fear about its radioactive waste.
The details: A letter being sent to leaders of G-20 nations claims the recent report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change includes “misinformation about nuclear energy, contrasts nuclear negatively to renewables, and in some cases suggests an equivalency with fossil fuels.”
The signatories include:
What they're saying: Emanuel told Axios the IPCC’s latest report contains a number of factual errors.
He cited a statement in Chapter 5 of the report that says replacing fossil fuel power plants with nuclear energy has mixed effects for human health — despite the millions of premature deaths that occur worldwide from coal-fired electricity, for example.
“The IPCC says, correctly, that even 1.5 degrees of warming is dangerous, especially for the developing world. We agree with that, on the other hand it throws cold water on what empirically is the fastest way to mitigate emissions we know about today."— Kerry Emanuel
Total's earnings: Total, the French multinational oil-and-gas giant, this morning reported $4 billion in Q3 profits — which is a 48% boost over the same period last year — on the strength of higher oil prices.
Sanctions: Via the Wall Street Journal, "China is cutting some of its oil trade with Iran after vowing for months to resist U.S. sanctions on the exports, providing Washington with an unexpected boost to its efforts to isolate the Islamic Republic."
LNG: Via the Financial Times, "Saudi Arabia's energy minister has said the kingdom aims to acquire 30 per cent of Russian gas producer Novatek's $21bn liquefied natural gas project in the Arctic, strengthening ties between Riyadh and Moscow."
A couple things worthy of your time...
Driving the news: The New York Times' Lisa Friedman noticed a "small explosion of political ads about global warming" ahead of the midterm elections.
Threat level: The new episode of the Center for Strategic and International Studies podcast Energy 360° looks at the role of energy in the midterms — and the potential fallout from election day. Here's one tidbit...
The Power Sector Carbon Index, produced by Carnegie Mellon University, is out with updated, interactive data that tells the story of the ongoing upheaval of the U.S electricity sector.
The big picture: The emissions intensity of U.S. power generation — that is, the amount of CO2 per unit of energy produced — fell another 5% between the second quarters of 2017 and 2018.
What's going on: The numbers reflect the changing generation mix as coal has lost ground to natural gas and renewables. Here are a few snapshots from the recent phases of the ongoing transition. In Q2 of 2018...
But, but, but: A reminder that while power sector CO2 generation is falling in both intensity and aggregate levels, overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions aren't on track to meet the U.S. commitment under the Paris climate deal of a 26%–28% cut by 2025.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Gibson Dunn’s Hillary Holmes writes for Axios ... Senator Elizabeth Warren, along with 7 co-sponsors, introduced the Climate Risk Disclosure Act of 2018 in September.
If enacted, this bill would require public companies to disclose a substantial amount of new information about their exposure to climate-related financial risks to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The big picture: As climate change concerns continue to mount, members of Congress, academics and investors are calling for public companies to make increased disclosures about environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters, such as management of a company's carbon footprint.
Reality check: Warren’s climate-risk disclosure bill is unlikely to pass in the near future, and under the Trump administration, and Holmes notes the SEC has not heeded calls to act on ESG, including a recent petition for a rule on disclosures.
2020 stakes: The SEC may have to address such issues if public and investor calls for disclosure continue to grow louder and Democrats regain control of the federal government.
Go deeper: Read the whole piece.