Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The hottest 2020 trend is moving up your projections of the global oil demand peak.

Driving the news: Oil major Total, in a new analysis, sees demand growth ending in a decade and then declining in their "momentum" scenario.

  • That's a world with some action on climate change, but not nearly enough to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement.
  • In their "rupture" scenario — aggressive policies coupled with tech breakthroughs — oil demand peaks "by 2030" and then falls to less than half of today's levels by 2050.

The big picture: Multiple analysts are accelerating their projections of when oil demand will stop growing, and some are more aggressive than Total.

  • A recent BP analysis sees that plateau early this decade — or even demand never reaching its pre-pandemic levels if the world acts aggressively on carbon.
  • A DNV GL report this month also predicts peak already happened.

Why it matters: The peak's timing and the slope of its decline will affect emissions, corporate strategies and the finances of oil-producing nations.

Yes, but: The idea that peak demand is imminent isn't mainstream, even as the pandemic shakes up long-term analyses.

What we're watching: Keep an eye on what the International Energy Agency says in its long-term outlook next month.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 20, 2020 - Energy & Environment

The U.S.-China climate rupture

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Well that, as Ron Burgundy would say, escalated quickly. China's foreign ministry is accusing the Trump administration of "major retrogression" on climate and being an environmental "troublemaker."

Why it matters: China's unusual statement Monday widens the rupture between the world's largest carbon emitters as global climate efforts are flagging and the pandemic's effect on emissions is too small to be consequential in the long term.

The cliffhanger could be ... Georgia

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1992, but Georgia's changing demographics may prove pivotal this year — not only to Trump v. Biden, but also to whether Democrats take control of the Senate.

Why it matters: If the fate of the Senate did hinge on Georgia, it might be January before we know the outcome. Meanwhile, voters' understanding of this power in the final days of the election could juice turnout enough to impact presidential results.

Amy Harder, author of Generate
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Climate change goes mainstream in presidential debate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

The most notable part of Thursday’s presidential debate on climate change was the fact it was included as a topic and assumed as a fact.

The big picture: This is the first time in U.S. presidential history that climate change was a featured issue at a debate. It signals how the problem has become part of the fabric of our society. More extreme weather, like the wildfires ravaging Colorado, is pushing the topic to the front-burner.