Happy Friday! Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,242 words, 4.7 minutes.
And 30 years ago this week, Depeche Mode released a classic that takes us into today's edition...
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
It's hard to get my head around all the ways that coronavirus is affecting oil markets, energy-related industries and even carbon emissions.
Why it matters: The tragic outbreak underscores that when it comes to energy, China is the straw the stirs the drink as the world's largest oil-and-gas importer, largest auto market and largest carbon emitter.
Driving the news: Here are a few ways that coronavirus, which is centered in China but has now spread to over two-dozen countries, is shaking things up...
When it comes to oil, it has pushed prices down to their lowest level in a year, stemming largely from reduced travel and economic activity in China.
It's impacting the liquefied natural gas market, which was already weak due to excess supplies.
China is the world's largest solar equipment manufacturer, and a note from the consultancy Wood Mackenzie says work at several module plants is unlikely to resume until late February or later.
Tesla was forced to temporarily close its Chinese factory and delay vehicle deliveries, per multiple reports.
There's even a climate change dimension, per Bloomberg, which reports: "If there’s a silver lining to the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China, it’s that the world’s biggest polluter is spewing less carbon, at least for now."
Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jörg Carstensen/picture alliance via Getty Images
Axios chief financial correspondent Felix Salmon explores the huge rise and wild swings of Tesla's stock price, which is currently trading around $728-per-share after breaking $900 earlier this week.
Take it away...
The big picture: Given its bonkers gyrations, it's now easy to see why CEO Elon Musk might feel that he was right all along in wanting to take Tesla private at $420 back in August of 2018 when it was trading in the mid-$300s.
"As a public company, we are subject to wild swings in our stock price that can be a major distraction for everyone." — Musk, "Taking Tesla Private" blog post, August 2018
The stock market is failing at its primary role of price discovery, the determination of how much securities and companies are worth. There's no rational reason Tesla's value should have fluctuated by more than $20 billion per day.
A short new Energy Information Administration report provides a breakdown that's useful in light of all the discussion these days about the U.S. energy posture.
Driving the news: The report shows that while late last year the U.S. became a consistent net exporter of petroleum (that is, crude oil and refined products combined), regions outside the Gulf Coast remain importers.
Why it matters: This isn't discussed in the EIA analysis, but President Trump boasted in this week's State of the Union speech that the U.S. is "now energy independent."
By the numbers: In November, which is the most recent full-month data available, the U.S. imported 5.8 million barrels per day of crude oil and exported 3 million, per EIA.
A recently formed bipartisan Senate group that's working on climate change is adding new members.
Driving the news: The Climate Solutions Caucus said yesterday that Republicans Marco Rubio and Susan Collins are joining, and so are Democrats Debbie Stabenow and Tammy Baldwin.
The Washington Examiner reports that Ohio Republican Rob Portman plans to join, too.
Catch up fast: Delaware Democrat Chris Coons and Indiana Republican Mike Braun formed the group late last year. Other members are Democrats Jeanne Shaheen and Michael Bennet, Republicans Mitt Romney and Lindsey Graham, and Maine's Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats.
Why it matters: It's the latest sign of more Republicans becoming interested in climate at some level.
Reality check: Informal caucuses don't typically have much influence on Capitol Hill, and it remains to be seen whether this one can help move legislation going forward.
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Over in the House, high-profile progressive Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Michigan Democrat Andy Levin are floating legislation aimed at creating a large nationwide network of electric vehicle chargers in five years.
Why it matters: Ocasio-Cortez is a very popular figure on the left, which could help the bill gain traction if Democrats win the White House and the Senate in the 2020 elections.
The bill has backing from unions including the UAW and several green groups. Reuters has more.
Oil and gas: "Energy Capital Partners LLC is pausing new pipeline deals, according to people familiar with the matter, as the accelerating downturn in shale prompts investors to seek returns elsewhere." (Bloomberg)
Nuclear policy: "President Donald Trump on Thursday appeared to reverse his position on a proposal to create a national nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain in Nevada after his administration tried for several years to revive the mothballed project." (Associated Press)
Climate change: "Bumblebee populations in North America and Europe have plummeted as a result of extreme temperatures, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science." (Washington Post)