Good morning, my latest column comes out of many conversations I've had with sources about how my beat has evolved under President Trump. Let me know what you think about this or anything else: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'll share a glimpse of this, and then Ben Geman will get you up to speed on the rest of the news.
Situational awareness: Trump has resumed his pressure on OPEC as oil prices hover near their 2019 highs (although they remain far below their early October levels).
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Climate change is on Washington’s front-burner for the first time in a decade — on Capitol Hill, on the campaign trail and, naturally, in newsrooms.
My thought bubble: Media companies are prioritizing climate change news like never before, and that includes Axios and my own coverage. This is the story about why and how much my focus has changed under Trump — which is to say a heck of a lot.
The intrigue: I joined Axios in April 2017 after 3 years covering energy, environment and climate change at the Wall Street Journal.
Details: Reporters often cover energy and climate change in separate silos. I am committed to a reporting track that considers the two inseparable. Of course, there are stories that don’t overlap, but with time inevitably limited in life, a reporter has to focus, so that’s mine.
Here are the highlights of the drivers of my shift over the last 2 years. Click here to go deeper on each and read my whole column.
Shifting energy landscape
Energy: On Thursday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hear from International Energy Agency boss Fatih Birol on the agency's long-term energy outlook.
Climate: An array of hearings this week will highlight Democrats' focus on climate change, including...
Politics: Senate Republicans could bring up for a vote this week the Green New Deal (GND) resolution sponsored by Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC).
2020 run: Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday that he could announce his climate-focused White House run as soon as this week.
Editor's note: This post was corrected to show Sen. Ed Markey is co-sponsor of the GND resolution (not Sen. Chuck Schumer).
LNG: Via Reuters, "Global liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade will rise 11 percent to 354 million tonnes this year as new facilities increase supplies to Europe and Asia, Royal Dutch Shell said in an annual LNG report on Monday."
China: S&P Global Platts takes stock of the new U.S. decision to delay an increase in tariffs on Chinese goods, reporting that the deadline extension is "likely to boost trade flows of crude oil and LNG, especially if it leads to an easing of trade tensions in the longer term, traders and other market participants said Monday."
Exxon 1: "Exxon Mobil Corp. is partnering with Microsoft Corp. to crunch trillions of bits of data as the oil titan seeks to more than triple shale-oil production in the Permian Basin in less than a decade," Bloomberg reports.
Exxon 2: The Financial Times reported Sunday that Exxon is trying to block a shareholder resolution on emissions targets from coming up for a vote at the oil giant's annual meeting in May.
The viral footage of kids organized by the Sunrise Movement urging Sen. Dianne Feinstein to support the GND resolution says a lot about climate politics in 2019.
ICYMI: Feinstein attacked the resolution as impractical, talked up her long experience and recent re-election, and handed out her own less aggressive resolution.
Quick take: Friday's confrontation encapsulated competing schools of thought about how to make progress.
But, but, but: Feinstein, in contrast, talks about the Senate vote landscape, noting the absence of GOP support. "The key to good legislation is to tailor something you write so it can pass, and you can get a step ahead," she said.
The big picture: The Washington Post's Greg Sargent got here before me and puts its well, noting on Twitter, "At bottom this episode also showcased a deeper dispute over theories of change."
The intrigue: Sunrise took heat for heavily promoting an edited, roughly 2-minute version of the encounter.
My thought bubble: It's the growing pains of a new movement, one which recently stumbled when AOC's office released and then pulled back a GND "FAQ" sheet that muddied the waters with claims absent from the underlying resolution.
Between the lines: It does reveal how much the GND has shifted the political plates on the left — Feinstein's resolution calls for achieving net-zero U.S. emissions by 2050 and until about 5 minutes ago, it would have been among the most aggressive plans ever floated by a mainstream Democrat.
The White House is moving forward with a plan to create a National Security Council committee to question the findings of recent federal climate science reports, the Washington Post reported Sunday.
Why it matters, via Axios' Andrew Freedman: The panel idea, first reported last week, represents a frontal assault on climate science reports at a time when public opinion is moving to support cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
In this case, per the Post, the report the panel is most likely to investigate is the National Climate Assessment.
Details: The panel would be the reincarnation of an idea put forward by former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, who pushed for a "red team-blue team" debate on the science modeled after military studies.
That proposal was squashed by then-White House chief of staff John Kelly. However, in the new version, there is no other team representing mainstream climate science — other than climate reports themselves.
Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Axios Expert Voices contributor Sarah E. Hunt sizes up the recent indictment of Chinese battery storage expert Hongjin Tan — a Chinese citizen and U.S. legal permanent resident — for stealing over $1 billion worth of trade secrets from his employer, U.S. petroleum company Phillips 66.
The big picture: The U.S. energy industry is the latest victim of corporate espionage and intellectual property (IP) theft by China — a growing threat to American energy innovation.
Details: Tan allegedly downloaded hundreds of confidential files, including information related to manufacturing a downstream energy market product, and planned to provide the information to his new Chinese employer.
Why it matters: Corporate espionage and IP theft is an expensive problem, costing the U.S. up to $600 billion annually.
Read more from Hunt, who's the co-founder and CEO of the Joseph Rainey Center for Public Policy.