Happy Friday! Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,038 words, ~ 4 minutes.
And, happy 35th birthday to Talking Heads' "Stop Making Sense," a brilliant concert film that provides today's intro tune...
Democratic presidential hopefuls in the Sept. 12 debate. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
Last night's Democratic primary debate in Houston had little discussion of climate and energy, but still lent itself to some takes (oh yeah!) from me...
1. It was kind of weird. Ok, staging a 10-person debate means some topics are inevitably downplayed or ignored. But when climate questions finally, and briefly, arrived 2 hours in, the first question was to Cory Booker about ... his vegan diet.
2. Still, climate is stitched into the fabric now. Beyond the whopping 5 minutes or so of direct discussion, many candidates wove climate into their mini-stump speeches and answers on other topics. Some examples...
3. This Elizabeth Warren answer caught my attention. The Massachusetts senator said "we've got to use all the tools" and then went on to say (emphasis added):
4. This Amy Klobuchar answer also caught my attention. The Minnesota senator said her background is a plus for confronting the "existential crisis of our time" because ... "I think having someone leading the ticket from the Midwest will allow us to talk about this in a different way and get it done."
Speaking of things the candidates were barely asked about last night, the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research is out with some new polling on climate and energy.
Check out the chart above, which probably, among other things, helps explain why Democratic hopefuls focused on the primaries don't see political peril in making aggressive calls for thwarting oil-and-gas development.
The big picture: It's not pictured, but the pollsters also asked about President Trump's job performance on global warming and energy.
The Interior Department moved closer to selling drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Thursday, just hours after Democrats signaled plans to thwart development if they regain control of Washington.
Driving the news: Interior released a final environmental analysis that calls for opening the refuge's entire coastal plain to development.
Why it matters: Several billion barrels of recoverable oil are thought to underlie the North Slope area that Interior is opening. But, environmentalists fear that drilling will harm the ecologically sensitive preserve that's home to caribou, polar bears and other species.
But, but, but: The House, along party lines, voted 225-193 yesterday to reimpose a drilling ban in the refuge. 4 Republicans voted for the new restrictions, while 5 Democrats opposed it.
S&P Global Platts' Herman Wang has a good, on-the-ground look at new Saudi oil minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.
Why it matters: Saudi Arabia is OPEC's most powerful producer, but faces all kinds of challenges amid dealing with modest oil prices, setting the stage for the Aramco IPO, and managing the cartel's production-limiting deal with Russia.
The big picture: The story draws out the contrast between the new minister and ousted Khalid al-Falih.
But, but, but: The change is more than just stylistic, the story notes, pointing to Abdulaziz's "frank admission that Saudi Arabia and Russia, the two largest producers in the 24-country OPEC/non-OPEC coalition by far, had been dominating the group's deliberations for too long."
A natural gas filtration system in Mifflin Township, Pa. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images
EPA's proposal to roll back methane regulations not only poses environmental risks, but also jeopardizes new leak-detection technologies that could create high-paying jobs nationwide, write Axios Expert Voices contributors Arvind Ravikumar and Morgan Bazilian.
Why it matters: Reducing emissions of methane — a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential up to 34 times that of carbon dioxide over 100 years — is critical to maintaining the emissions advantages of natural gas over coal, especially as U.S. LNG exports grow.
The impact: Early-stage companies developing this technology are poised to expand, but scrapping methane regulations could freeze their growth in the oil and gas communities where sensors would be deployed.
Ravikumar is an assistant professor at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology and a non-resident fellow at the Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines. Bazilian is a professor of public policy and director of the Payne Institute.