Good morning! Smart Brevity count: 1,098 words/< 5 minute read.
Situational awareness: Volkswagen said Wednesday it’s acquiring 20% of shares in the Swedish battery producer Northvolt and they’re creating a joint venture to build a factory in Germany. The deal shows how auto giants are lining up suppliers for growing electrification.
D.C. readers: Join Axios' Mike Allen tomorrow at 8am for a News Shapers event focused on U.S. trade policy. RSVP here
And onto music. This Sunday will mark the 1991 release of Big Audio Dynamite II's "The Globe," so an infectious track gets us going today...
BP's latest global energy stats report shows that CO2 emissions from energy, which create the lion's share, grew at their fastest rate in 7 years in 2018 as energy demand surged.
Why it matters: The report yesterday joins other analyses in concluding that emissions are heading upward amid scientific findings showing the need to deeply cut them in coming decades to prevent runaway warming.
The big picture: China, the U.S. and India together accounted for roughly two-thirds of energy consumption growth last year, including a "whopping" 3.5% rise in the U.S., the fastest growth in 3 decades, notes the "Statistical Review of World Energy."
Where it stands: BP chief economist Spencer Dale said in remarks yesterday that the surprising growth in energy use relative to underlying economic conditions stems from last year's large number of hot and cold days.
Threat level: He cautioned that there are "many people better qualified than I to make judgements on this," but added...
"[E]ven if these weather effects are short lived, such that the growth in energy demand and carbon emissions slow over the next few years, the recent trends still feel very distant from the types of transition paths consistent with meeting the Paris climate goals."
Here's another stat that stands out in BP's annual data dump: They said last year's U.S. oil production growth (including natural gas liquids) was the largest annual increase by any country. Ever.
The big picture, per the report:
"Since 2012 and the onset of the tight oil revolution, U.S. production (including NGLs) has increased by over 7 Mb/d — broadly equivalent to Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports — an astonishing increase which has transformed both the structure of the US economy and global oil market dynamics."
Axios' Amy Harder reports ... Carbon pricing and investment transparency top the agenda of a meeting later this week between leaders of the world’s biggest oil and investment firms and Vatican officials, according to multiple sources and a draft agenda viewed by Axios.
What's next: Participants in the meeting are likely to be similar to last year’s, which included the CEOs of ExxonMobil, BP and renewable energy execs. Expected attendees to this year’s meeting, according to people familiar with the gathering, include...
What we're hearing: Per the draft agenda, the 2-day meeting is set to include discussions under the following titles. This draft, dated in May, said the pope’s attendance had not yet been confirmed.
Go deeper: Read Amy's full story here.
Outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday floated a proposal to require the country to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Why it matters: The plan would make the U.K. the first G7 nation to "legislate for net zero emissions," her office said in announcing the legally binding proposal.
What's next: Multiple reports, like this BBC story, signal the legislation has political buy-in.
But, but, but: "This is just the starting gun. Now the real challenge begins: actual policy, regulation and technology solutions to decarbonise our economy," notes Albert Cheung, a top analyst with the consultancy BloombergNEF, on Twitter.
Quick take: The plan underscores the transatlantic split on climate change amid President Trump's moves to unwind emissions rules and policies. However, a number of Democratic White House hopefuls have called for similar targets.
Tesla: TechCrunch reports, "Tesla might get into the business of mining minerals used in electric vehicle batteries if it wants to expand its product lineup and scale production, CEO Elon Musk said during the company’s annual shareholder meeting."
LNG: Per the Wall Street Journal, China is breaking into Arctic transport through a joint venture between the country’s biggest ocean carrier, Cosco Shipping, and its Russian counterpart, Sovcomflot, to move natural gas from Siberia to Western and Asian markets.
Congress: House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff is probing reports of White House interference with a State Department analyst's written testimony prepared for a recent hearing on climate change and national security.
Tuesday brought new developments in the growing push for a Democratic primary debate devoted solely to climate change.
Driving the news: Joe Biden, shaking hands in Iowa, endorsed the idea when asked by a Greenpeace activist (here's the video).
Why it matters: Biden is the early frontrunner and the closest thing to the establishment's candidate.
But, but, but: His campaign did not respond to an inquiry about whether he would actually press the matter with the Democratic National Committee.
One level deeper: That brings me to the second new development: The DNC is digging in.