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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Oil-and-gas giant Repsol yesterday pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 — becoming the first oil major to make a specific net-zero commitment (albeit a non-binding one).

Why it matters: Bloomberg notes that it's the "most ambitious attempt yet by an oil major to align itself with the Paris climate goals."

The big question: Will they be a trendsetter or outlier?

Driving the news: The company outlined plans that include adopting interim targets to reduce carbon intensity, moving more deeply into renewable power, and utilizing methods such as carbon capture tech, forest offsets, and EV charging at service stations.

  • One key thing, noted by both Bloomberg and the Financial Times, is that the emissions targets include not just Repsol's direct operations, but the larger CO2 levels produced from use of its products in the economy.
  • That's important because pledging this type of "scope 3" emission cuts is relatively uncommon for oil majors.

The intrigue: Repsol said it's taking a $5.3 billion "impairment charge" to the value of its assets. That reflects the lower value of fossil fuel holdings in a business model consistent with the Paris Agreement's goals.

What we're watching: Whether any other oil majors, including the ones that have recently increased their climate pledges, will match the step.

  • Repsol is much smaller than giants like ExxonMobil, Chevron and Shell.
  • Its project portfolio is also heavily tilted toward natural gas, so it's got something of a head start.

What they're saying: Andrew Logan of the sustainable investment group Ceres called it a "gauntlet thrown." Logan, who carefully tracks Big Oil's climate moves, told Axios:

"One aspect of the Repsol commitment that I think hasn't gotten enough attention is the ~$5B write-down on its existing oil and gas assets."
"This has implications across the sector, and will raise questions among investors about whether other companies should be writing down the value of their assets as well."

The bottom line: This "could be the beginning of a major realignment in the sector," Logan said.

Go deeper: Big names begin bipartisan push to build support for carbon cuts

Go deeper

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

11 hours ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.