Good Monday morning, our thoughts are with those hit by Hurricane Irma — and everyone continuing to recover after Harvey.
My latest Harder Line column offers a layman's guide — and relatable analogy — to explain the connection between climate change and extreme weather. I also have a scoop at the end about how a federally paid scientist is going to analyze climate's impact on these latest two hurricanes and maybe the wildfires hitting the western United States.
After teasing the top of my column, I'll hand things back to Ben to get you up on the latest energy news.
There's a lot of talk lately about how climate change is affecting the hurricanes and the wildfires hitting the U.S. right now. The simple answer: Climate change doesn't cause extreme weather events. It can make them worse, and many scientists are saying that's a factor in these events.
My thought bubble: That makes climate change like diabetes for the planet.
The bottom line: Climate change is not a problem we can solve, full stop, like diabetes isn't completely curable. However, we can mitigate its impact by simultaneously cutting carbon emissions and adapting to a warmer planet.
Click here to read the rest of the column in the Axios stream.
Please keep an eye on the Axios stream today for news about Hurricane Irma. Here's a quick rundown of some of energy impact:
Power: "The storm left more than 5.7 million customers without power and littered the state with downed trees, downed power lines and standing water," CNN reported Monday morning, citing information from Gov. Rick Scott's office.
Petroleum: A Goldman Sachs research note Monday morning points out that Irma will dent oil demand, but not production and processing, given the relative absence of petroleum infrastructure in its path.
Climate: The New York Times looks at the politics of hurricanes and global warming. For scientists, the influence of global warming on the impact of hurricanes is a logical conversation...
Interesting discussion: The mass evacuations in Florida prompted Bloomberg New Energy Finance transportation expert Colin McKerracher to pose this question on Twitter:
Carbon capture: Backers of more aggressive federal support for commercialization of projects to trap and store carbon emissions from coal-fired power will look for momentum this week.
What's happening: On Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee will hold a hearing on the topic, while a day later the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions will hold a symposium on the topic with four senators, industry officials, and other experts.
A few other things to watch this week on and off Capitol Hill...
House climate tussle: When the chamber renews debate on a big spending package this week, keep an eye on a couple of looming amendment votes. Still on tap are two GOP proposals that would thwart funds for EPA methane emissions rules and would block use of Obama-era estimates of the so-called social cost of carbon, a metric that helps regulators tally the benefits of avoided emissions.
FERC member on the record: A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee will gather tomorrow for a hearing on power grid reliability. Neil Chatterjee, a new GOP member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will be making his first appearance before lawmakers since winning Senate confirmation.
(UPDATE: This hearing was canceled due to Hurricane Irma's impact on the House schedule and members' availability.)
North Korean sanctions: The United Nations today holds a hearing on further sanctions on North Korea, that will likely pit the U.S. — which is pushing hard for a vote to cut off Kim Jong Un's lifeline of oil, most of which comes from neighboring China — against China and Russia, which are worried further sanctions will not work and will make North Korea collapse, Bloomberg reports.
Oil markets: On Wednesday the International Energy Agency will release its closely watched monthly oil market report. It's expected to address the impact of Hurricane Harvey. The report is also a monthly checkup of how IEA analysts view the progress of efforts by OPEC and Russia to ease the global supply glut.
All eyes on China: News broke over the weekend that Chinese officials are crafting a plan to eventually end sales of gasoline and diesel-powered cars.
The Associated Press, citing Chinese state media, reported yesterday: "The reports gave no possible target date, but Beijing is stepping up pressure on automakers to accelerate development of electrics."
Why it matters: China is the world's largest auto market. And the announcement, while vague, follows moves in a number of countries to create a horizon for the phase out of fossil-fuel vehicles. Most recently, the U.K. and France both announced over the summer that they would phase out sales in 2040.
Immediate impact: Reuters reports from Shanghai that Chinese companies in the EV space — including the Warren Buffet-backed BYD Co Ltd. — saw their shares surge in trading Monday on the heels of the news about an eventual phaseout of internal combustion cars.
A couple of other notes on electrics...
Uber: In case you missed it, the company pledged Friday that by the end of 2019, every car available via UberX in London will be hybrid or fully electric.
Tesla: The company remotely extended the battery range of vehicles for free to help owners in Florida with their hurricane evacuations. "The update temporarily unlocked the full battery potential for 75-kilowatt-hour Model S sedans and Model X SUVs, adding another 30 to 40 miles to their range," MarketWatch reports.
State of the ship: The Solar Energy Industries Association, the sector's main trade group, and GTM Research are out with their latest quarterly snapshot of U.S. solar photovoltaic installations and trends. A few toplines...
Trend they flagged: Utilities are increasingly buying and building solar based on cost-competitiveness alone, according to the industry group. They said so-called voluntary procurement, as opposed to projects driven by policy and regulatory mandates, accounted for 59% of such procurement through the first half of the year.
Coal regrets: A snippet buried in this NYT piece on Hillary Clinton's upcoming book caught my eye. Clinton believes her biggest gaffe of the campaign was saying in Ohio that, "We're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business."
But the NYT adds: