Good morning from Cambridge! I'm here to speak at Harvard later this morning. (In town? It's open to the public!)
I'll share a glimpse of my latest Harder Line column, which looks at how swing voters are describing climate change, and then Ben Geman will get you up to speed on other news.
Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,218 words, < 5 minutes.
Illustration: Aïda Amer, Eniola Odetunde/Axios
A small sample of swing voters in three of America’s top battleground states shows climate change is a concern, but not an urgent crisis.
The big picture: The results of focus groups in Ohio, Minnesota and Wisconsin suggest that some of these voters have views on climate change that are in between Democratic presidential candidates, who think it’s a crisis, and President Trump, who dismisses it altogether.
How it works: Groups of between nine and 11 swing voters in those three states answered questions about a range of topics, including climate change.
What they’re saying: The participants were asked the following fill-in-the-blank exercise: Climate change is a ____.
Why it matters: The degree of urgency is a key factor in whether climate change becomes a big enough priority to help determine their vote. Although this topic is getting more attention this election than it has perhaps ever before, these lukewarm reactions suggest it’s not breaking through.
What to watch: When asked if climate change is an emergency, one voter said her daughter would describe it that way.
The International Energy Agency's new five-year renewable energy forecast sees faster growth than last year's outlook, but warns that movement toward zero-carbon sources is too slow to confront global warming.
What they found: The agency forecasts that total global renewable power capacity, which was 2,502 gigawatts last year, will increase 50% by 2024, with solar accounting for over half the expansion.
Why it matters: Expanded use of renewables in power and heating are important tools for fighting climate change and renewables are a major growth industry.
Quick take: Even IEA's higher forecast could prove too modest, given that the agency has often underestimated renewables growth in the past.
IEA's new report sees rapid growth of solar systems located at homes, businesses and industrial plants. They forecast this distributed capacity reaching 530 GW in five years.
The intrigue: Rooftop solar at homes isn't the main driver. "Contrary to conventional wisdom, distributed PV growth is dominated by commercial and industrial applications rather than residential," IEA notes.
The big picture: This rapid growth is still just a fraction of distributed solar's potential, IEA said.
Climate change is on the ballot in Canada today as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of the Liberal party battles Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, his top challenger.
Why it matters: There's a big split on energy and climate policy. Via the Washington Post...
"One of the main areas of disagreement is on the environment. Trudeau has promised to commit Canada to net-zero emissions by 2050 but has offered few details on how he’d get there."
"Scheer, by contrast, says his first order of business as prime minister would be to repeal the Liberal government’s carbon tax."
The big picture: "Polls and Google search rates indicate healthcare is the top election issue for many Canadians although the climate crisis is not far behind," CNN reports.
Go deeper: Canada’s climate change election — cheat sheet (Climate Home News)
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Speaking of elections, Reuters reports, "Support for the Greens surged in Switzerland’s election on Sunday, moving politics to the left and putting environmentalists in the mix for a seat in the broad coalition that has governed the country for decades."
Climate: Via WSJ, "Exxon Mobil Corp. and New York’s attorney general are headed for a showdown this week over accusations the company deceived investors, a rare trial over how the oil industry accounts for the impact of climate change."
Electric vehicles: Tesla will offer the latest glimpse into its financial health when the Silicon Valley electric automaker reports its Q3 earnings after markets close on Wednesday.
GOP Rep. Francis Rooney of Florida, who introduced carbon tax legislation in July, announced over the weekend that he's not seeking re-election in 2020.
Why it matters: Rooney is one of a very small number of Capitol Hill Republicans who promote or endorse putting a price on carbon emissions.
Where it stands: Rooney's proposal would set a rising tax that begins at $30 per metric ton of CO2.
Go deeper: Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy compares carbon tax proposals floating around Congress here.