Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP

Yesterday, Royal Dutch Shell said it would aim to cut the "net carbon footprint of its energy products by around half by 2050," with an interim reduction goal of 20% by 2035.

Why it matters: The pledge is the latest sign of how the world's biggest oil and gas companies are positioning themselves on climate change. It also comes on the heels of Shell's deepening involvement in electric vehicle charging.

  • "This measure will be tracked over time, with reviews every five years to ensure Shell is progressing in line with societal progress towards the carbon footprint reduction required to meet the Paris goals," the company said.
  • In addition, Shell said it would boost spending on its alternative energies division from $1 billion to $2 billion per year until 2020, but it remains a small part of the company's overall portfolio.

Yes, but: I reached out to Andrew Logan, director of oil and gas for the sustainable investment group Ceres, for some perspective on Shell's carbon goal. Here's what he told me in an email exchange...

  • While the specific goals here...are probably not ambitious enough, and are more back-weighted than I would like, Shell's acknowledgement that it needs to address product emissions, and align with Paris, crosses a psychological barrier that the industry up until now had steadfastly avoided.
  • It also draws a clear line between it and the US majors like Exxon, which has said that it believes a 2 degree goal is so unlikely that it is not worth planning for.
  • So the split in the industry continues to widen, with Shell, Statoil and Total actively preparing for a low-carbon future, and Exxon et al doubling down on business as usual.

Go deeper: The New York Times looks at Shell's plans here.

Go deeper

Markets swell as the economy shrinks

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The economy is sputtering, but the markets are thriving — a highly unusual event that shows how the coronavirus has thrown all bets off.

Why it matters: The disconnect adds to the wealth gap. The richest 10% of households — who own 84% of stocks — are getting richer, while millions of out-of-work Americans cross their fingers that pandemic unemployment benefits will be extended.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 10,836,500 — Total deaths: 520,605 — Total recoveries — 5,723,808Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 2,735,554 — Total deaths: 128,684 — Total recoveries: 781,970 — Total tested: 33,462,181Map.
  3. Public health: The states where face coverings are mandatory Regeneron stops trial after drug fails to help patientsWhat we know about the coronavirus immune response — Fauci says it has been a "very disturbing week" for the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.
  4. Business: Top business leaders urge the White House to develop mandatory mask guidelines.
  5. Politics: Herman Cain hospitalized for COVID-19 after attending Trump Tulsa rally — Biden downplays jobs number, rebukes Trump for ignoring health crisis.
  6. Economy: The economy may recover just quickly enough to kill political interest in more stimulus.
  7. States: Texas mandates face masks in public spaces Florida reports more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases, and its most-infected county issues curfew.
10 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Coronavirus surges mark a "very disturbing week" in the U.S.

Fauci testifies to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on June 30. Photo: Al Drago/AFP via Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told medical journal JAMA on Thursday that it has been a "very disturbing week" for the spread of the novel coronavirus in the U.S.

What's happening: The number of coronavirus cases increased in the vast majority of states over the last week, and decreased in only two states plus the District of Columbia, Axios' Caitlin Owens reports.