Good morning. My latest Harder Line column checks in on President Trump's efforts to save coal and nuclear power plants 2 years into his time at the White House.
I'll share that and then Ben Geman will get you up to speed on the rest of the news.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
President Trump is coming up empty handed on his promises to bolster America’s ailing coal and nuclear power industries.
The big picture: For a president who has pushed legal and political boundaries on other priorities, particularly immigration, the lack of action in this area is striking.
Between the lines: People familiar with the dynamics offer several reasons for the contrast.
Where it stands: It’s a messy road to nowhere, for now.
Flashback: For the last year and a half, Energy Secretary Rick Perry has been trying — but failing — to find ways to help ailing coal and nuclear plants across the Eastern states.
The bottom line: “I’ve thrown a lot of jello over at the wall on this one trying to find some solutions that we can all, or at least a majority of us can get behind to support that,” Perry said last month.
The other side: This is a triumph of a diverse and broad set of energy interests — ranging from natural gas to wind — that rallied together to oppose the administration's efforts, arguing they would upend market forces and could increase electricity prices for consumers.
What we’re watching: As Trump’s re-election campaign picks up, he's likely to revive calls to save coal and nuclear plants. But that puts the administration's policy experts in a bind, because they’ve exhausted most options.
What they found: "While the filing does mention the company’s efforts to offer riders 'multi-modal trips' that may include public transportation should they choose, the vast majority of the filing’s mentions of public transit make plainly clear the company sees buses and trains as a competing service," Gordon writes.
Why it matters: As we wrote about Friday, some analysts fear that the growth of Uber and similar services will stymie efforts to wring carbon out of transportation and lead to more congestion.
Our thought bubble, per Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva: It’s no surprise that multiple ride-hailing companies, including Uber and Lyft, were born in San Francisco — it’s a proven market where the local public transit doesn’t meet the needs of some residents.
Another Uber thing: The IPO prospectus highlights $457 million in spending last year on their Advanced Technologies Group and other initiatives, including their flying car program called Uber Elevate. It states...
"Our initial efforts through Uber Elevate focus on shared air transportation between suburbs and cities, with the goal of ultimately addressing air transportation within cities."
The big picture: Flying electric cars could play a "niche role" in sustainable transportation, but using them for short commutes would not be climate-friendly, a recent study in Nature Communications concludes.
Why it matters: In addition to Uber, companies including Boeing are developing vertical takeoff and landing vehicles (VTOLs). Deployment timelines are uncertain, but it's no longer a distant fantasy.
What they found: Trip length matters a lot. VTOLs use lots of energy to gain altitude, but then run more efficiently.
What they're saying: "The implications are we shouldn't use VTOLs for urban taxis, but rather for longer trips inside or outside of a metropolitan area," Carnegie Mellon University's Costa Samaras, who was not involved in the study, tells Axios.
Chevron's blockbuster, $33 billion stock-and-cash deal to buy Anadarko could herald more consolidation in the shale patch as the majors expand their positions.
What they're saying: “If you have large acreage positions like Pioneer and Concho, or lesser but more contiguous positions like Parsley Energy, and you’re a pure-play Permian producer, there’s no doubt that you are on the radar screen for these majors," Rob Thummel of Tortoise Capital Advisors told Reuters.
Go deeper: Chevron to buy Anadarko in oil mega-deal
Debut: "Volkswagen is expanding its range of all-electric concept vehicles with the debut of the mid-size I.D. Roomzz SUV at the Shanghai auto show," Car and Driver reports.
Deal: Via Reuters, "Toyota Motor Corp has agreed to sell electric car technology to Singulato, its first deal with a Chinese electric vehicle startup, allowing the fledgling firm to speed up development of a planned mini EV."
The big picture: Bloomberg has a wide-angle look at the EV market in China, where sales are surging but not everyone will survive. The story notes there are 486 (seriously) EV-makers registered in China.
A big New York Times Magazine piece explores the movement away from emphasis on carbon pricing — via taxes or permit trading — among key advocates pushing for new U.S. climate policies.
Why it matters: Democrats are laying the groundwork for initiatives to advance if a post-2020 political window opens.
The politics have gotten tougher, Leonhardt argues, thanks to U.S. households' continued economic struggles and a GOP that has become "radicalized."
Quoted: "[E]fficient is not always what can be attained from a political perspective. I would rather move now on what we can do than wait for economists’ perfection," says Christiana Figueres, the former top UN climate official.
The bottom line: "By the time a price on carbon took effect, it might not be so unpopular anymore. But we can’t wait for the politics to change to begin taking action," Leonhardt writes.
Quick take: It's an illuminating look at the political landscape. But it also leaves the impression that environmentalists have only recently come around to focusing primarily on the economic and health benefits of clean energy.