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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A new report explores how emerging work patterns created under the pandemic's strain may create important long-term shifts in energy use, but not in ways that significantly change emissions.

Driving the news: The latest multidecade energy outlook from the consultancy DNV provides a look at some new normals around remote labor and virtual services.

  • "The consolidation of using remote communication and digital tools has permanently affected our ways of working and service provision, reducing transport needs in all sectors," they write.

How it works: They see a long-term 5% reduction in workspace demand in developed regions including China, and half that in developing economies.

  • However, they estimate a "small increase" in private cars instead of public transit, and growing demand for suburban and rural homes "will counterbalance the effect of lower frequency of office working, leaving overall car use unchanged."
  • "Residential energy demand in developed regions will thus increase by 4%, half of which arises from bigger dwelling sizes and half from increased requirements for heating and cooling."

The intrigue: The report also projects that new habits will crimp air travel that was initially cut in half by COVID.

  • But the general trend will still be sharply upward, even with long-term business travel 20% lower than under their pre-pandemic forecast.
  • "By 2050, we will see annual global passenger flights growing 130% from 4.4 billion flights in 2019 to 10.2 billion flights in 2050," they note.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 14, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Biden's winter energy chill

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Higher home energy prices heading into the chilly months are the latest energy-related problem facing Joe Biden at a sensitive time in his young presidency.

Driving the news: The Energy Department's independent stats arm projects heating bills this winter will rise thanks to higher commodity prices and predictions of a colder winter.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's carbon emissions-cutting pledge faces tough climb

Image from the Rhodium Group study "Pathways to Paris." Courtesy of the Rhodium Group.

The verdict is in: President Biden's U.S. emissions-cutting pledge isn't a fantasy, but the path to meeting it is very difficult and relies on forces outside of White House control.

Driving the news: The Rhodium Group just released an analysis of policy combinations that could close the gap between the current U.S. trajectory and Biden's vow under the Paris Agreement to cut emissions in half by 2030.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Johnson & Johnson pulls the trigger on Texas talc gambit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It's official: Johnson & Johnson has invoked a Texas legal loophole in an attempt to protect the bulk of its corporate assets from claims that its baby powder caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

Why it matters: It's the biggest and boldest invocation yet of the so-called Texas two-step defense. But it's still not clear whether it's going to work.