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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Convulsions in global oil markets are creating new wildcards for efforts to rein in carbon dioxide emissions and boost climate-friendly energy.

The state of play: In the abstract, cheaper energy makes cutting consumption more difficult, something to watch if low prices outlast the coronavirus outbreak. Lower revenues could also potentially hinder oil giants' investments in low-carbon tech and startups.

  • This price collapse is coinciding with a public health emergency that's wreaking economic havoc, which could cut nations' bandwidth to focus on the various climate goals set in recent years.
  • The economic fallout is also slashing CO2 emissions over the near-term, but for tragic reasons nobody should want replicated.

But, but, but: There's also reason to think the price crash could be irrelevant or even supportive of clean energy, in part because it's part of a wider economic shock.

  • Consider that it shrinks oil majors' gap between returns on oil production vs. renewable energy projects, which are less lucrative but more stable.
  • On the "irrelevant" side, consider that the relationship between driving levels and gasoline prices in the U.S. is actually not especially strong.
  • Also, lower prices make it easier to reform fossil fuel subsidies, which are quite large globally and climbed in 2016–2018 after years of declines.

What they're saying: The oil price collapse "will definitely put downward pressure on the appetite for a cleaner energy transition," International Energy Agency head Fatih Birol tells the FT.

  • Bloomberg columnist David Fickling calls the effects of the oil crash "nuanced" but adds that overall they're "positive for decarbonization" — and he doesn't think emissions will be set to bounce back again after this downturn the way they have in the past.

Go deeper: OPEC-Russia oil price war escalates as Saudi Aramco announces supply increase

Go deeper

Behind GameStop's latest stock surge

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Back in focus: The meme stock trade.

By the numbers: GameStop finished up 19%, after a wild day that saw shares spike as much as 80%.

AT&T spins off U.S. video business via deal with TPG

Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

AT&T is spinning off three of its video services, including its satellite TV brand DirecTV, to create a new standalone video company called New DIRECTV.

Details: The company will be jointly owned by AT&T and private-equity giant TPG. AT&T will retain a 70% stake and TPG will own 30% of the firm.

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

Ex-USA Gymnastics coach dies by suicide after being charged with human trafficking

John Geddert. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

The body of John Geddert was found on Thursday, just hours after the former USA Gymnastics coach was charged with 24 counts of criminal misconduct, according to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

What they're saying: “My office has been notified that the body of John Geddert was found late this afternoon after taking his own life. This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved," Nessel said in a statement.