Good morning and we have an invite to our D.C. readers: Wednesday morning, join Axios' Evan Ryan for a business-leader-stacked conversation on the private sector's role in advancing gender equality.
I'm going to offer a glimpse of my latest Harder Line column below, and then Ben Geman will guide you through the rest of today's edition.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
America’s divisive politics and the sheer math of cutting heat-trapping emissions indicate the world’s prospect of substantively tackling climate change is getting out of reach.
Why it matters: We often talk about this issue as though big solutions are coming sooner or later. But in fact, it’s a big “if,” not “when,” America and the world will do anything close to what scientists say is needed to avoid the worst impacts of a warmer world.
The math is a big problem. It’s like if you had a marathon in one direction, and instead you turn around and start running in the other direction.
The politics are another big problem. Among all the topics Americans disagree about, I consider climate change the most divisive. With other policies, like health care and immigration, people generally agree the topic at least exists.
On the world’s ambition, rhetoric far outpaces action. Virtually all countries except the U.S. are committed to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, but...
This is where I write a “to be sure” paragraph mentioning examples disputing my argument. Instances do exist that show progress on climate change, but they’re not nearly big enough to counteract everything I’ve mentioned.
Go deeper with my whole column in the Axios stream.
State of the market: Crude oil prices are up on Monday following weeks of declines after OPEC and allied producers signaled yesterday that they may collectively trim output next year.
By the numbers: Early this morning, Brent crude was trading at $71.01 and WTI at $60.57.
Why it matters: The weekend meeting of officials from OPEC and Russia (among others) is the latest twist in a volatile period for oil markets.
What's next: A statement yesterday from what's known as the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee lacks any firm commitment to a production cut. But it nonetheless drops hints of what OPEC will discuss at their major meeting next month.
The intrigue: Whether Russia will go along.
What they're saying: "OPEC+ nations sent a clear signal they are concerned rising supply and weaker demand may keep pushing oil prices down," writes Columbia University energy expert Jason Bordoff in this Bloomberg wrap-up.
A few things on our radar...
Congress: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee gathers Thursday to hear from Bernard McNamee, the Energy Department official tapped for an open GOP seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
FERC: The commission will hold its latest monthly meeting on Thursday. The agenda is here.
Oil markets: On Wednesday, the International Energy Agency will publish its closely watched monthly oil market report.
Electric vehicles: Via the Financial Times, "Volkswagen’s supervisory board will meet this Friday to vote on sweeping changes that would see the world's biggest carmaker accelerate plans to expand its production of electric vehicles."
Legends: Today is rocker Neil Young's birthday. He's amazing. More on that tomorrow.
Ascendant House Democrats gearing up to aggressively probe the White House are facing pressure to pursue another target too: ExxonMobil.
Why it matters: Democrats are taking power for the first time since a wave of investigative reporting in 2015 about how much Exxon knew internally about global warming decades ago and its past funding of groups that publicly disputed the science.
Where it stands: The activist group 350.org is circulating a petition to lawmakers on their agenda — including a recommendation to investigate Exxon about the topic.
What they're saying: On Capitol Hill, nothing yet.
Quick take: Your Generate host would be somewhat surprised if Democrats launch a probe along these lines, given the long list of Trump administration investigations expected.
A new analysis of the world's largest oil-and-gas companies finds they're spending an average of just 1.3% of their 2018 capital budgets on developing low-carbon energy sources.
Why it matters: The analysis of 24 companies from the U.K.-based CDP underscores the dominance of traditional fossil fuels in their portfolios, even as a number of big players have made high-profile moves in renewables, EV charging and other tech.
But, but, but: the report also shows a geographic split, with European majors Equinor, BP, Shell and Total moving more aggressively.
And more broadly...
Overall, the group of 24 companies tracked have invested a combined $22 billion in alternative energies since 2010.