Just over 35 years ago (in mid-March, but I didn't get the communique), the great Dire Straits released the live album "Alchemy."
So one of those tracks takes us into the weekend...
Democratic White House hopeful Jay Inslee unveiled a plan this morning that requires all U.S. electricity to be "carbon-neutral" by 2030 and mandates all new car and light truck sales to be zero-emissions vehicles by the same date.
Why it matters: It's the first detailed policy plank from Inslee, the Washington State governor running on the untested theory that a campaign devoted to fighting global warming can gain traction in national politics.
But, but, but: Big portions of the proposal would require legislation, including new mandates, investments and tax credits, clouding its prospects.
The big picture: Inslee's overall goal is for the U.S. to have net-zero greenhouse gas emissions "as fast as possible" but no later than 2045, while cutting emissions in half by 2030.
Between the lines: The former congressman has been working on energy and climate for decades.
Thought bubble: Yes, yes, it's early days, but I'll be watching to see if Inslee, who is far down in the polls, can seize on voters' interest in climate change that's been apparent in some recent surveys.
Here's just a few snapshots of how the wide-ranging proposal addresses different sectors...
For power, it calls for a national "Clean Electricity Standard" that would require utilities to provide all "carbon neutral" power by 2030 and completely "clean, renewable and zero-emissions" generation by 2035.
For transportation, the plan requires that all new light- and medium-duty vehicles and buses will be zero-emissions by 2030.
For buildings, it calls for a Zero-Carbon Building Standard by 2023 and working with cities and states to fold it into their codes. Other provisions include:
A Tesla official said Thursday that a shortage of key minerals used in electric vehicle batteries could emerge years in the future absent more investment in mining projects, according to reports in Reuters and Bloomberg.
Why it matters: Growing demand for EVs will require higher volumes of lithium, copper (more on that below) and other materials.The topic was discussed at a closed-door meeting in Washington yesterday that included U.S. officials and mining industry, per the outlets.
What they're saying, via Bloomberg...
Copper is a challenge too, explains Reuters:
"The copper industry has suffered from years of underinvestment, and it is now working feverishly to develop new mines and bring fresh supply online as the electrification trend envelops the global economy," they report.
Speaking of raw materials for low-carbon energy, Axios' Amy Harder has some key numbers:
The context: That stat comes to me from this infographic by the World Bank, which announced Wednesday a new initiative on minerals and clean energy.
Driving the news: The Climate-Smart Mining facility is what the World Bank describes as the first-ever fund dedicated to making mining for minerals that are key to clean energy sustainable — so the process to make clean energy is itself not too dirty.
Where it stands: Copper is key to the entire clean energy transition because it’s used in so many different technologies: solar and wind are the main users, but copper is also needed for batteries, hydro, geothermal and a couple others, per the Bank.
By the numbers: If the world follows through with the ambitions of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, the clean energy transition will significantly increase demand for minerals across the board, per the World Bank.
Axios Expert Voices contributor Justin Guay writes that in the first four months of 2019, four major financial institutions headquartered in Asia have announced restrictions on the financing of new coal plants — a noteworthy shift within the region.
Why it matters: Until recently, such restrictions came largely from Western financial institutions. But the majority of planned new coal plants are being built in just four Asian countries — China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia — and increasingly underwritten by Asian financial institutions.
Where it stands: More than 100 of the global financial institutions with at least $10 billion in assets under management have announced coal finance restrictions, according to the Institute for Energy Economic and Financial Analysis. These restrictions are gaining new momentum in Asia.
Yes, but: Loopholes remain a problem. The Van Phong plant in Vietnam will still be financed and constructed, and OCBC and DBS will likely finance two other plants in Southeast Asia that would similarly undercut these new policies.
Justin Guay directs global climate strategy at the Sunrise Project and advises the ClimateWorks Foundation.
Offshore drilling: The Interior Department yesterday unveiled final rules that scale back some requirements imposed by the Obama administration in response to the 2010 BP oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.
Climate change: "The House passed a bill on Thursday that would block President Trump from abandoning the Paris Agreement on climate change and require his administration to devise a plan to cut America’s greenhouse gas emissions," The New York Times reports.
Batteries: The Associated Press reports on a French-German effort to put Europe at the forefront of the battery industry.