Apr 2, 2019

Saudi Aramco offers climate pitch for a carbon-constrained world

Ben Geman, author of Generate

An oil rig off the coast of Saudi Arabia. Photo: Getty Images

There's interesting information in Saudi Aramco's 469-page bond prospectus, beyond the $111 billion net income last year that Axios Generate noted on Monday.

Driving the news: The state oil giant lays out a series of climate and climate-policy related risks to its business, including reduced demand for fossil fuels, litigation, and threats to infrastructure.

The intrigue: The Saudis are increasingly making the case that in a carbon-constrained world, their oil will have market-staying power.

  • That's because of its relatively low carbon intensity (that is, emissions per unit of output) compared to other major producers.
  • Their prospectus lists the CO2 intensity of Aramco production among their "competitive strengths."
  • It also repeatedly highlights a Stanford-led analysis listed last year in the peer-reviewed journal Science that addresses the topic. (Note: Aramco helped fund the research, but the authors of the study said it did not influence the findings.)
"Climate change concerns may cause demand for crude oil with lower average carbon intensities to increase relative to those with higher average carbon intensities."
— The prospectus

What they're saying: "I see it as a recognition of what's important to a large portion of investors and consumers," oil analyst and Saudi expert Ellen Wald told me yesterday.

Flashback: Experts have been predicting that the Saudis would increasingly emphasize this, including Rice University's Jim Krane in a paper last year.

Go deeper ... A petro-tipping point: U.S. to surpass Saudi oil exports

Go deeper

Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

8 hours ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.