Good morning and welcome back!
Quick note before we get started: Axios' Mike Allen is chatting with former Vice President Al Gore onstage in D.C. this morning, so please follow the Axios stream for coverage.
Oh, and yesterday marked the 35th anniversary of Dexys Midnight Runners topping the Billboard Hot 100 charts with "Come on Eileen," so that's today's intro tune...
Companies including BP, Chevron and power giant Southern Company have formed a new coalition called the Energy Advance Center to work on carbon capture, storage and use.
Why it matters: Trapping CO2 from power plants and other industrial facilities is an important way to help eventually bring the steep emissions cuts needed to prevent the most dangerous levels of warming.
The two other companies listed in this newly public lobbying disclosure filing, represented by Hunton Andrews Kurth, are:
What they're saying: Not all that much yet. But Hunton Andrews Kurth partner Fred Eames described the new group this way in a statement to Axios:
"The Center is a voluntary association of energy companies, industrial energy users, and other energy-related entities formed to promote the energy industry’s interests in issues related to carbon capture and storage, to improve the greenhouse gas emissions profile of fossil fuels, and to enhance the economic opportunities from use of CO2 with benefits for the economy, energy security, and the environment."
The big picture: Deployment of carbon capture tech has been slow to get off the ground. But a new U.S. law — part of the big February federal spending deal — expands tax incentives for direct sequestration or use of captured CO2 in enhanced oil recovery.
Go deeper: Read the full story here.
State of the market: Per MarketWatch, "Oil prices moved firmly higher on Tuesday, with Brent crossing $75 for the first time since 2014 as tensions between Saudi Arabia and Yemen heated up."
Stat of the day: This new Wood Mackenzie podcast notes that renewables investments by European-based oil majors — who have been the most aggressive on low-carbon energy — amount to less than 3% of their upstream capital spending.
Quote of the day: In this CNBC piece PVM Oil Associates analyst Tamas Varga says via a research note:
"Whether his view will have a long-lasting impact on prices remains to be seen, but it is now a daily routine for oil and financial traders to start their day by rigorously checking Donald Trump's tweets."
A couple of new developments and stories are moving the needle on the "is embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt safe"-meter.
GOP concerns: Per Politico last night, "Scott Pruitt’s wall of GOP support developed some new cracks on Monday, with three key Senate defenders calling for hearings into the embattled EPA administrator's recent controversies."
Buzz: Bloomberg reports that White House officials are "cautioning Republican lawmakers and other conservative allies to temper their defense of Scott Pruitt...in a sign that administration support for the embattled EPA chief may be waning."
Not full-throated: White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders offered something less than unequivocal support for Pruitt at yesterday's briefing in response to questions about ethics controversies (full transcript here). She said:
"We're reviewing some of those allegations. However, Administrator Pruitt has done a good job of implementing the President's policies, particularly on deregulation; making the United States less energy-dependent and becoming more energy independent."
Expanding: Retail behemoth Target is expanding its electric vehicle charging deployment, vowing Monday to offer charging at 600 parking spaces at more than 100 sites in 20+ states over the next 2 years.
Trendspotting: The Wall Street Journal had an interesting feature over the weekend on EV startups hiring seasoned auto industry executives for "help making sense of the complicated and capital-intensive car business."
High-end: Per Bloomberg, Ferrari has been quietly testing a hybrid model.
My Axios colleague Joe Uchill reports...
Zeroing in: The Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab says it has identified a large number of servers used as infrastructure for a hacking campaign, which has included energy targets, that's widely believed to be run by the Kremlin. One of those servers allegedly belongs to a Russian opposition party.
What they found: Kaspersky has identified infrastructure used by Energetic Bear, also known as Dragonfly or Crouching Yeti, a Russian-speaking hacking group targeting the energy sector and other industrial systems.
Why it matters: U.S. officials are wary of cyberattacks on our energy infrastructure. Energetic Bear has regularly been caught in U.S. systems, and knowing which servers the group uses will help halt the attacks.
Go deeper: Click here for Joe's full story.
"The EV shift might usher in the age of a bubble- or pod-shaped car like those popularised by the 1960s futuristic animated comedy series, The Jetsons."
That's a snippet of this Reuters story about the nexus between autonomous driving and vehicle electrification and the evolution of auto designs.
One level deeper: The piece explores how, in theory, the safety enabled by advanced autonomous systems, combined with the relative simplicity of electric propulsion, could eliminate the need for long hoods and other common features of internal combustion cars.