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Driving the news: Wind and solar energy will account for over a third of the world's power generation by 2040, up from just 5% today, according to just-released projections from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
More from their latest long-term forecast (which you can find here at 8 a.m.)...
To be sure: The CO2 emissions trajectory that BNEF forecasts is "not nearly enough" to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels (the aspirational ceiling in global climate negotiations).
Good listen: The most recent podcast of The President's Inbox, from the Council on Foreign Relations, is a sharp but wide-ranging conversation about the politics and substance of President Trump's decision to bail on the Paris climate accord.
Some points about China: Veteran energy analyst Michael Levi, who is a former Obama aide now with ClearView Energy Partners, says:
Context: Levi (and others) note that China's steps on low-carbon energy are largely driven by forces other than climate, such as domestic pressure over terrible air pollution — he argues that China's greenhouse gas pledges do not represent "really hard choices."
Plus: Regardless of the Paris pact, China already dominates growth in renewables, moving past the U.S. to become the world's largest producer of renewable power, accounting for 40% of global growth last year, according to BP's big annual energy data and trends report.
Yes, but: Deep into this MIT Technology Review interview with Apple's Tim Cook, there's a somewhat rosier view of the idea that the Paris deal is pushing China beyond what the country would be doing anyway.
Break out the champagne — Wind and solar power exceeded 10% of U.S. power generation for the first time in March, the Energy Information Administration said in a brief report. Plus, wind and solar provided at least 20% of the power in seven states last year (led by Iowa at 37%).
Hotseat: EPA administrator Scott Pruitt will discuss the White House budget proposal, which would cut EPA spending by roughly a third, before a House Appropriations Committee panel at 11 a.m.
It will be webcast here.
Out of the hotseat: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson testified at four hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday (I wrote a bit about Tuesday's appearances here). Yesterday he explained why he was among the officials who unsuccessfully urged Trump to stay in the Paris climate deal.
He suggested that it's not, however, especially relevant to actual U.S. emissions, which have been generally falling for a decade. The country has done an "extraordinary job" without "heavy-handed regulation," Tillerson said.
Thought bubble: It's hard to overstate the many effects of the fracking boom.
Politically, displacement of coal by lower-carbon gas in power markets gives Trump's team running room to argue that the U.S. is succeeding outside of Paris, even as analysts say Trump's regulatory rollbacks will likely mean the U.S. will not meet the steeper cuts former President Obama had pledged over the next decade.
Markets: Oil prices slipped to nearly their lowest levels in six months on Thursday morning, "under pressure from high global inventories and doubts about OPEC's ability to implement agreed production cuts," according to Reuters.
Aramco IPO: The Wall Street Journal reports on a hiccup en route to the massive planned IPO by Saudi Aramco, the kingdom's state oil giant:
Pipelines: A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration must conduct more environmental analysis of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, but did not order a halt to oil flowing through the completed project pending further hearings, the Washington Post reports.
Methane: Platts reports on moves by the Interior Department and EPA to delay industry's obligation to comply with a pair of Obama-era rules aimed at limiting emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane from oil-and-gas operations.
Oil sands: A major Canadian industry group has raised its long-term projections for the nation's oil output for the first time in several years, largely due to oil sands development, Reuters reports.