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Image via DNV Energy Transition Outlook

A multidecade energy outlook from the consultancy DNV finds that COVID has not been a turning point on climate.

Why it matters: "[F]rom an energy transition perspective, the pandemic has been a lost opportunity," they write.

"Recovery packages have largely focused on protecting rather than transforming existing industries."

The big picture: The projection sees surging clean energy and a long-term decline in fossil fuels, but not enough to meet Paris Agreement goals.

  • They conclude coal use has peaked. Oil is rebounding and reaches pre-pandemic levels around 2025, but then declines to 55% of current levels by 2050.
  • Natural gas will grow this decade, stay flat in the 2030s and then decline only slowly.

The bottom line: There's a "very short window to close the gap" between current trajectories and Paris, which aims to limit temperature rise to under 2°C above preindustrial levels and ideally 1.5°C.

Absent stronger action, they project the increase to reach 2.3˚C by 2100 — far below worst-case outcomes, but a level slated to bring highly destructive effects.

Go deeper

Updated Dec 7, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on infrastructure and sustainability

On Tuesday, December 7th, Axios co-founder Mike Allen and energy reporter Ben Geman looked at the latest infrastructure bill’s sweeping sustainability provisions and the plans to implement them, featuring Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) and United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby.

Sec. Jennifer Granholm highlighted the path forward for clean energy offshore wind and weatherization, how the Biden administration is prioritizing emerging green technologies, and how the bill can make America’s supply chains more competitive.

  • On the vast potential of geothermal energy as a clean energy resource: “We should be using a lot more of it. It is renewable, it’s underneath our feet. We frac right now for natural gas, for oil. We could be using that same technology to pull up clean resources from under our feet. We have enough geothermal to power this nation several times over if we actually got at it, so that to me is exciting and I’m really enthusiastic about that.”
  • On how the infrastructure bill makes America more competitive: “It invests in supply chains. Right now, we are not competitive...we haven’t really gotten to the level of building out the full supply chain: the cell that goes into the battery pack, the anode, the cathode, the separator material. We want to do the whole thing, including the critical minerals that are built into those battery packs. Making us competitive would mean that we partner with industry to make those costs competitive here.”

Sen. John Hickenlooper described how the infrastructure bill’s funding invests in states’ climate resiliency efforts, how to make sure the bill’s investments and projects are implemented over time, and the long-term impact of the bill’s passage on the transition to clean energy.

  • On the scope of the infrastructure bill’s clean energy provisions: “People already forget that this is the most consequential climate bill ever. And when you look at $73 billion for power and the grind and including and that is, you know, all kinds of recharging stations, incentives for electric vehicles, that’s very impactful.”
  • On the long-term impact of infrastructure bill investments: “I think it’s worth re-emphasizing that this entire infrastructure investment...almost all of it is allocated over five years, some is going to be 10 years...the thing to remember is it’s all paid for...and yet it is stretched out over a period of time, so it will create jobs.”

Axios co-founder & CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, who described the climate provisions in the infrastructure bill and the pending Build Back Better bill that are most impactful for the aviation industry.

  • “We’re not going to be able to fly big airplanes long distances on batteries or even hydrogen anytime in the foreseeable future, and because of that, we need to create sustainable aviation fuel. Today, that industry is tiny. The blender’s fuel tax credit would allow that industry to have certainty of investment.”

Thank you United Airlines for sponsoring this event.

3 hours ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania. 

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.