Good morning, my recent trip to Australia was a rich reporting environment, with my latest column laying out the big picture of why the country and its upcoming election matters to the rest of the world.
I'll share that, and then Ben Geman will get you up to speed on the rest of today's news.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
SYDNEY, Australia — This country is at a crossroads with its energy future: one that aggressively moves toward cleaner resources in response to climate change, versus one that holds onto fossil fuels far longer.
Why it matters: Australia is the poster child, but the entire world faces similar choices, albeit not quite as stark as Oz. Fossil-fuel exports are booming here while large swaths of its population are enduring the wrath of extreme weather — which scientists say is getting worse as global temperatures rise.
Driving the news: Australia is facing a federal election this spring that offers voters a stark contrast on climate change and energy, and the world a window into two very different futures.
Here’s a snapshot of how central energy and climate change are in Australia:
A recent Brookings Institution report found that Australia is poised to be worse off if the world acts on the ambitions of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Go deeper: Read the whole column.
John Hickenlooper. Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
John Hickenlooper, Colorado's Democratic governor from 2011 to 2019, launched his 2020 presidential campaign today.
Why it matters: Hickenlooper's entry brings a more pro-development voice on oil-and-gas as much of the field is courting the left by embracing the Green New Deal and focusing on climate change.
What they're saying: Hickenlooper seeks to cast himself as a problem-solver in his campaign launch video, which barely grazes energy.
But, but, but: Amy notes that Hickenlooper presided over large, fracking-driven increases in oil-and-gas production in Colorado.
What we're watching: Via Amy, his success or failure will help to test how far left the party has moved on energy and the environment.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted Sunday that the company will unveil its Model Y crossover SUV on March 14 at L.A. Design Studio, and that it would "cost about 10% more [than the Model 3] & have slightly less range for same battery."
The big picture: The announcement comes less than a week after Tesla said its long-awaited $35,000 Model 3 is available to order online. Musk said detailed specifications, price points and test rides will be available at the unveiling.
Why it matters: Axios' Joann Muller says the Model Y would enter one of the most competitive segments in the market — compact crossover utilities.
Go deeper: How Tesla lost its minotaur soul
* * *
Speaking of electric vehicles, Reuters reports: "Germany’s car industry is to invest nearly 60 billion euros ($68 billion) over the next three years on electric cars and automated driving, the head of the VDA car industry association said ahead of the Geneva motor show."
A Financial Times story this morning explores how the refining industry's main trade group opposes carbon tax proposals that are backed by some large members including Exxon and BP.
Why it matters: The story on the posture of American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers highlights a policy divide within the industry.
But, but, but: "Chet Thompson of American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers said a carbon tax would be 'bad public policy' that raised prices at the pump. He called it 'fanciful' to describe such a tax as revenue-neutral," FT reports.
Our thought bubble: The FT piece is a reminder that Shell, which also backs the CLC plan, is reviewing its trade group memberships to ensure they don't "undermine its support for the objectives of the Paris Agreement on climate change."
Capitol Hill: This week's suite of hearings include...
Big Oil: The U.S.-based multinationals Exxon and Chevron will hold their annual presentations for investors and analysts this week.
The share of U.S. adults who believe the GOP's position on climate change is outside the mainstream is higher than it was 4 years ago, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released over the weekend.
Why it matters: The results arrive as the 2020 election cycle is gathering steam and the Trump administration is moving ahead with efforts to dismantle Obama-era climate policies.
By the numbers:
The big picture: "The question was intended to record general perceptions rather than views of individual proposals, such as the Green New Deal for addressing climate change proposed by several Democratic lawmakers," the WSJ reports.