Good morning from London, where I'm speaking at a Hawthorn Club event, and later this week I'll be checking out some carbon capture projects in Norway.
My latest Harder Line column provides a behind-the-scenes look at an invite-only event of CEOs from global oil companies talking about climate change last week.
I'll share that, and then Ben Geman will get you up on the rest of the news.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
A nascent organization funded by global oil companies to address climate change may seem ironic — but it's a credible effort that could actually have a real impact.
The intrigue: Last week at the first-ever U.S. meeting of the group, called the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, a rare and surprisingly candid discussion took place between CEOs of the world’s biggest oil producers and leaders in climate change action.
Nigel Topping, CEO of a nonprofit coalition called We Mean Business, noted (accurately) that the companies were still overwhelmingly investing in finding new oil and gas over cleaner energy resources — “lest you suggest you’re really betting the farm on the future.”
The other side:
The big picture: The burning of the fossil fuels that oil and gas companies produce is a big reason Earth’s temperature is rising, yet their products are also foundations of the global economy.
The background: The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative was officially founded 4 years ago, but it’s just starting to do things worthy of attention.
Of note: The initiative has limitations, driven by its makeup and mission.
Go deeper: Read the full column in the Axios stream.
General Electric has named Lawrence Culp as its new chairman and CEO, replacing John Flannery, who took the reins just last year. Simultaneously, the company announced that GE Power would take an approximately $23 billion "non-cash goodwill impairment charge," though that remains subject to review.
Our thought bubble, from Axios' Dan Primack: Flannery's relatively short tenure was best-known for getting rid of things. Now he's gone too, after revealing a stunning $23 billion non-cash charge for its power business.
Trade: As seen in the tweet above and its followup here, President Trump says the new post-NAFTA trade deal with Canada and Mexico is a "great deal." Reuters describes the energy provisions of the new USMCA announced overnight:
EPA and mercury: Via the New York Times, "The Trump administration has completed a detailed legal proposal to dramatically weaken a major environmental regulation covering mercury, a toxic chemical emitted from coal-burning power plants."
A huge LNG deal: Per Bloomberg, "Royal Dutch Shell Plc and its four partners have agreed to invest in a multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas project in western Canada — the largest new one of its kind in years that would carve out the fastest route to Asia for North American gas."
Why it matters: The news signals the struggles and challenges the Saudis face in implementing ambitious plans to diversify their crude-reliant economy.
Tesla's stock is up about 16% in pre-market trading Monday following CEO Elon Musk's $20 million weekend settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which had sued him on Thursday for making misleading statements, causing stock price to drop sharply.
Musk also said over the weekend that the company is on the cusp of profitability.
Why it matters: A drawn-out case would have clouded the future of Musk and Tesla for months to come at a critical time for the thus-far unprofitable Silicon Valley electric automaker.
What's next: All eyes now turn to Tesla's vehicle third-quarter production and delivery numbers, which are expected in days, and then Q3 financial results in a few weeks.
Our thought bubble: The SEC settlement amounts to some "tough love" for the company. New independent voices on the board should be helpful. And in theory the controls over Musk's communications may help prevent this type of self-inflicted wound in the future.
More on Tesla: Axios' Felix Salmon explains why the settlement matters for the company's ability to raise money...
The big picture: Tesla is still burning through $1 billion a quarter. Investors don't love to lend money to a cashflow-negative company that has never made a profit, is at war with its regulator and already has more than $11 billion in debt.
When companies die, it's nearly always because they can't raise money. That, ultimately, is why Musk swallowed his pride and settled with the SEC. He can't afford to be in a fight with the SEC when he inevitably returns to the debt markets to ask for more money.
Extreme weather events, such as the recent N.C. flooding from Hurricane Florence, will be more frequent and intense under higher levels of global warming. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
ICYMI via Axios' Andrew Freedman ... In calculating the potential environmental impacts of freezing federal fuel economy standards in 2020, the Trump administration made the assumption that the world will warm by about 4°C, or 7.2°F, by 2100, when compared to preindustrial levels, first reported by the Washington Post on Friday and since confirmed by Axios.
Why it matters: Such a high amount of warming would also far exceed the amount that scientists say would result in potentially catastrophic impacts, including the partial to complete collapse of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.
The details: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document states that the impacts of nearly 7°F of global warming would be severe, including "increases in mortality and morbidity due to excessive heat and other extreme weather events" and the swamping of cities due to sea level rise.
"The amazing thing they’re saying is human activities are going to lead to this rise of carbon dioxide that is disastrous for the environment and society. And then they’re saying they’re not going to do anything about it."— Michael MacCracken, climate scientist, tells WashPost
Read more of Andrew's story here.