Good morning and welcome back! A quick note for Washingtonians: Axios' Mike Allen will be hosting two live News Shaper interviews this week and you're invited.
Tomorrow he will be interviewing National Economic Council Director Gary D. Cohn, where they'll go behind the scenes of the tax negotiations, and look ahead to next year's agenda. Then Thursday, Mike and Sen. Mark Warner will discuss the latest on Bob Mueller's investigation. To RSVP for Wednesday's event, click here. For Thursday's, click here.
Ok, let's dive in . . .
Chinese carbon trading market: China, which is the world's largest greenhouse gas polluter, on Tuesday unveiled plans for a national carbon trading market that Bloomberg notes will be "the world's biggest trading system for the climate-warming emissions."
Coal and climate tussle: Mining giant BHP said Tuesday that it plans to abandon the World Coal Association, and may also leave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over differences on climate policy, including the Chamber's opposition to pricing carbon and its attacks on the Paris climate deal.
ICYMI: The EPA has taken its first steps toward replacing the big Obama-era regulations on power plant carbon emissions with a more modest rule, my Axios colleague Amy Harder reported yesterday.
Putting it in writing: The new White House National Security Strategy goes big on the administration's of-repeated mantra that it's seeking U.S. energy "dominance," mentioning the idea no less than a half-dozen times.
"Unleashing these abundant energy resources — coal, natural gas, petroleum, renewables, and nuclear — stimulates the economy and builds a foundation for future growth," it states.
Why it matters: Prominently emphasizing "dominance" in the security strategy signals how the White House is using a multi-pronged rationale to back up its moves to promote U.S. coal and oil-and-gas.
Climate posture: As we noted yesterday, the plan omits the Obama administration's recognition of climate change as a security threat. However, it does discuss climate in other ways, noting: "Climate policies will continue to shape the global energy system."
Consistent with the White House message at the recent UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany, it makes that case that fossil fuels and other energy forms will be needed to meet rising energy demand in the developing world, while casting U.S. policy as a model for other economies.
Overall the plan is consistent with what amounts to a Trump doctrine on climate, which is basically:
Yes, but: A number of analyses conclude that various White House policies will together slow or even halt the decline of U.S. emissions, putting the country further away from meeting its 2015 pledge in the Paris climate deal to cut emissions 26%–28% below 2005 levels by 2025.
Editor's note: This piece has been corrected to show that for climate, the NSS did not only state: "Climate policies will continue to shape the global energy system."
Historic: New federal data makes abundantly clear that 2017 will be among the warmest years in the modern temperature record that dates back to the late 1800s.
Why it matters: Scientists are warning that, despite progress in slowing global carbon emissions, the world is still on pace to eventually have warming that goes beyond 2°C above the pre-industrial average — the level determined by the Paris climate agreement that would ward off the most dangerous climatic changes.
Place or show: NASA uses a slightly different methodology than NOAA to track global temperatures. Gavin Schmidt, who directs NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said via Twitter yesterday that 2017 is almost certain to be the second-warmest on record.
New data: The Energy Information Administration projects that oil production from shale formations — the stuff tapped via fracking — will rise by another 94,000 barrels per day in January to reach 6.41 million bpd, according to the latest monthly drilling productivity report released Monday.
State of play: The Dallas Fed is out with a new look at OPEC and Russia's agreement to extend their production-limiting deal through 2018, and how U.S. shale factors into the equation.
This is helpful: Platts has published a comparison of the differing 2018 oil market outlooks from three key supply and demand forecasting bodies: OPEC, EIA and the International Energy Agency.
Aramco IPO: A Tuesday column by a pair of Reuters editors looks at Saudi Arabia's process for selecting the international listing venue for the massive planned IPO of Saudi Aramco.
French multinational energy giant Total announced yesterday that it has made a final investment decision to move ahead with large-scale production in the massive Libra field in the deepwater Santos Basin off Brazil's coast.
The big picture: It's the latest in a string of moves by the world's biggest oil companies to bolster their investment in Brazil. It comes on the heels of companies including Exxon and Shell last year acquiring exploration blocs in the so-called pre-salt offshore basins, which are thought to contain massive hydrocarbon resources.
Between the lines: The major industry investments signal interest among large companies in big offshore initiatives even at a time when the hefty spending on U.S. onshore shale projects gets lots of attention — and right now Brazil is among the hottest regions.
Why now? Cuenca says a convergence of factors explain why Brazil is such a hotspot and expects heavy interest in the next bidding rounds:
"The fact that they are so productive means you need less of them to develop massive resources...You have big discoveries and they can be produced with few wells," Cuenca says.
Lobbying: Tesla has further expanded its lobbying reach by bringing on the powerhouse firm Holland & Knight, a newly public filing shows.
Trucks: A new note from Morgan Stanley analysts looks more deeply at a topic we explored here — how corporate pre-orders for Tesla's electric semi-truck amount to a vote of confidence in the product. Tesla's truck is getting "important validation," Morgan Stanley says, a conclusion based on pre-order levels and their analysts' discussions within the trucking industry.