Good morning! Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,097/< 5 min. read.
Situational awareness: President Trump again refused to accept the scientific consensus on human-driven climate change in his interview with Piers Morgan. Watch the clip
Finally, at this moment in 1996, The Fugees were atop Billboard's album charts with "The Score," a classic which provides today's intro tune...
The United Kingdom broke its record for the number of days without using any coal-fired electricity — thanks largely to natural gas, Axios' Amy Harder reports.
Driving the news: The 18-day streak snapped late yesterday, according to the U.K.'s electricity operator.
Why it matters: Coal has historically been the nation's dominant electricity source but natural gas burns 50% less carbon emissions than coal.
The big picture: Natural gas is controversial in the world’s energy and climate debate. It’s still a fossil fuel, but the cleanest-burning kind, so when it’s displacing coal, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions as the accompanying chart shows.
The intrigue: Via The Guardian: "Coal has been used for electricity generation since 1882, when a plant opened in Holborn, London. However in 2018 the fuel made up just 5% of Britain’s electricity generation, a big decline from about 40% in 2012, according to [government] figures."
Yes, but: Longer term — as in many, many decades — remaining heavily dependent on natural gas is likely going to make it a lot harder (some experts suggest impossible) to cut GHG emissions to a level scientists say will avert the worst impacts of a warmer world.
What we’re watching: The International Energy Agency is set to issue a study in July looking at fuel switching between coal and natural gas and the latter’s role in a transition to cleaner energy.
Toyota plans to unveil a new type of "personal electric vehicle" this week and will outline a broad electrification strategy heavily reliant on partnerships with Chinese manufacturers, Axios' Joann Muller scooped yesterday.
Why it matters: Despite its longtime lead in hybrids like the Prius, Toyota is seen as lagging on the industry-wide shift to battery-electric vehicles, especially as China and Europe have moved to mandate more zero-emission vehicles.
What's new: On Friday in Japan, Toyota senior executives will share details of the company's EV pipeline and future business model, according to a source with knowledge of the plan.
Diplomacy: Gov. Jay Inslee today unveiled the foreign policy side of his climate-focused platform, which is important because the U.S. is responsible for about 15% of global emissions so spurring cuts by other nations is crucial. Details...
Controversy: "Biden’s Democratic presidential campaign amended his climate policy plan hours after it was released Tuesday because a handful of passages did not credit some of the sources in the proposal," AP reports.
One more thing! NYT's Brad Plumer tweeted helpful comparisons of the price tag of candidates' plans.
Natural gas: Via The Houston Chronicle, "The flaring of natural gas in West Texas' booming Permian Basin has exceeded previous estimates and is now contributing to far more "widespread waste" and pollution than ever before, according to a new report."
Big Oil: "The global crackdown on plastic trash threatens to take a big chunk out of demand growth just as oil companies like Saudi Aramco sink billions into plastic and chemicals assets," Bloomberg reports.
Nuclear: The DOE approved the transfer of nuclear information from U.S. companies to Saudi Arabia 7 times under Trump, including twice after the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudi government, per a statement from Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).
Finance: LevelTen, a startup that helps commercial and industrial customers procure renewable power, has raised $20.5 million in Series B funding.
Beer: "Anheuser-Busch announced Tuesday the signing of a 15-year virtual power-purchase agreement with Recurrent Energy for a 222-megawatt (AC) project in West Texas," Greentech Media reports.
The monthly peak amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere in 2019 jumped by a near-record amount to reach 414.8 parts per million (ppm) in May, Axios' Andrew Freedman reports.
Why it matters: It's the highest level in human history and likely the highest level in the past 3 million years.
Threat level: The sharp rise of of 3.5 ppm in just 1 year shows that we're headed in the opposite direction from what scientists have shown is needed to avoid the worst consequences of global warming.