Happy Friday! Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,141 words, or ~ 4 min read.
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Today marks the 1973 release date of ZZ Top's "Tres Hombres," which takes us into the weekend...
The climate plans and views of 2020 White House hopefuls will soon get much more TV coverage — but not yet the way that many activists want.
Driving the news: CNN announced yesterday that it's holding a candidate forum "focused on the climate crisis" on Sept. 4 in New York.
Why it matters: The twin announcements yesterday are the strongest sign yet that climate change, once an afterthought in national election cycles, has broken into the political mainstream.
But, but, but: The events won't be what climate activists and a bunch of candidates themselves — led by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee — have been pushing for: An actual debate where the 2020 hopefuls are onstage together.
How it works: CNN is inviting only candidates with at least 2% support in 4 major polls by Aug. 28, which is the DNC's threshold for the September debates.
Meanwhile, MSNBC said the Georgetown forum would be streamed live on NBC's website and featured over 2 nights on MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes," which airs at 8pm ET.
The billionaire activist yesterday released his climate platform that includes a vow to formally declare climate change a "national emergency." It says this would spur new government-wide executive actions.
Why it matters: That emergency move is also designed as a leverage point for his call for Congress to pass Green New Deal legislation and boost funding for protection against the effects of climate change. Per the plan...
"If Congress refuses to act expeditiously, I will not hesitate to use the emergency powers of the presidency to protect the American public from the climate crisis, just as I would use those powers to protect our country from a hostile military invasion."
By the numbers: The wide-ranging plan calls for achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.
Go deeper: How Tom Steyer would address climate change (Politico)
Apple tops the corporate world in solar power procurement as of the end of last year, according to data released by the Solar Energy Industries Association, an industry trade group.
Why it matters: Their report on business use of solar power provides a look at who is helping to lead this segment of the wider corporate renewables installation and purchasing market.
Where it stands: The chart above shows the leading players in combined onsite installations and procurement from offsite projects via power purchase agreements and other contracts.
The big picture: "Today, the 7,000 MW of commercial solar installations generate 10.7 million MWh of electricity annually, enough to power 1.4 million homes," the report states.
Go deeper: Check out SEIA's full interactive report on corporate solar procurement data and trends here.
Catch up fast: VW, Ford, BMW and Honda agreed to meet standards of increasing stringency through model year 2026.
What we're hearing: The 4 automakers are likely to adhere to the voluntary deal for their nationwide fleets, even if it doesn't prompt the White House to back off its plan to freeze the Obama standards.
What's next: The New York Times cites an unnamed auto executive familiar with the negotiations who said it's likely that other automakers will join.
The big picture: The top-line goals are similar but slightly more modest than the Obama-era deal that California agreed to.
Don't forget: A standing reminder about why California matters so much...
Go deeper: Reuters has a piece on this here.
Here's a little more on the fallout...
What they're saying: I chatted with Dan Becker of the Safe Climate Campaign, who said details of the framework — including how it credits technology adoption — mean that in practice it's far weaker than the Obama rules.
The bottom line: “I am not really sure we are getting a whole hell of a lot out of this deal that we are not getting anyway,” Becker said.
Meanwhile, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers — which includes Ford, GM, Fiat-Chrysler and other heavyweights — didn't take an explicit position. But their statement points out that California, which has planned to carry out the Obama-era rules, has bended a bit.
Between the lines: The 4 automakers' separate deal illustrates how the industry is in an awkward spot. It supported Trump's effort to revisit the rules, but doesn't like the plan to freeze them outright.
The other side: EPA, for its part, called the whole thing a "PR stunt."