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An oil refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas shortly before Hurricane Harvey. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A pair of analyses explore how rising heat, rising sea levels and powerful storms are threats to energy infrastructure.

Why it matters: There's justifiably lots of attention on fossil fuels' outsized contribution to global warming, but another crucial topic is how climate change is already affecting everything from power grids to refineries.

1. Over at UPenn's Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, Christina Simeone writes that companies with operations along the Gulf Coast energy belt are failing to adequately describe climate-related risks in disclosures to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

That's important, because companies with refineries, petrochemical plants, liquefied natural gas facilities and more face risks from sea-level rise and storm surges.

  • "I’m not sure any rational investor would read these disclosures and understand the gravity of the Texas coastal situation, or the need for an enormous taxpayer investment to protect Gulf Coast assets from climate-related impacts," she writes.

2. International Energy Agency analyst Caroline Lee connects the dots on how the brutal summer of 2018 has affected energy systems, such as . . .

  • Forcing temporary closures of several French reactors, which occurred, per AP, to prevent discharges of cooling water from overheating nearby rivers.
  • Low water levels on the Rhine river disrupting barge traffic of oil products.
  • Scorching heat has caused blackouts and power interruptions in California, Pakistan and elsewhere.

What's next: Lee says governments must play a "central role" in making the energy sector more resilient to climate change.

That means toughening codes for infrastructure, "establishing an enabling financial environment that encourages climate-resilient investment," and more. Companies, she writes, need to factor climate change into their planning and operations, and develop emergency response measures for "extreme events."

Go deeper: All the heat records broken this summer on one map

Go deeper

Scoop: Biden weighs retired general Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star general Lloyd Austin as his nominee for Defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
1 hour ago - Health

WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release"

A medical syringe and vial with fake coronavirus vaccine in front of the World Health Organization (WHO) logo. Photo Illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Top scientists at the World Health Organization on Friday called for more detailed information on a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

Why it matters: Oxford and AstraZeneca have said the vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses. AstraZeneca has since acknowledged that the smaller dose received by some participants was the result of an error by a contractor, per the New York Times.