Morning Consult Energy: Analysis Shows 2021 Was World’s Sixth-Hottest Year on Record
 

Energy

Essential energy industry news & intel to start your day.
January 14, 2022
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Morning Consult Energy will be off Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The weekday newsletter will resume Tuesday.

 

Oklo: NRC’s Application Denial a Temporary Setback, Not a Derailment

Last week, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission made minor waves when it denied nuclear developer Oklo Power LLC’s application for its Aurora micro-reactor, which was submitted nearly two years ago. However, Oklo told Morning Consult that it plans to promptly resubmit its application, and it does not expect too much time to be lost overall, given the advanced stage of their review at the time of the denial. And the NRC confirmed that it will provide Oklo with another review schedule after checking to make sure the updated application is complete. 

 

All in all, Oklo anticipates that the Aurora will still be able to start operations by 2025, as planned.

 

For more, including on how this development fits into the broader landscape of nuclear development in the United States, read on here

 

Top Stories

  • The release of multiple sets of measurements from organizations that conduct temperature analyses indicated that 2021 was the sixth-hottest year in global recorded history, with the last eight years together ranking as the hottest to date. The organizations — NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the nonprofit Berkeley Earth — found that the 2010s were by far the hottest decade on record, with 2021’s global average temperature more than 1 degree Celsius above the 1880-1900 average. (Bloomberg)
  • The Interior Department proposed extending its abandoned mine land reclamation program until 2034 and cutting reclamation fee rates by 20 percent, per an interim rule from the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. The bipartisan infrastructure law allots $11.3 billion toward the endeavor. (The Hill)
  • The Energy Department launched a Clean Energy Corps and will hire 1,000 new workers focused on projects to speed the transition to clean energy and cut greenhouse gas emissions. This marks the largest growth in the DOE’s workforce since its 1977 founding, and relies upon special hiring authority included in the bipartisan infrastructure law. (The Washington Post)
  • Around the Lunar New Year holidays in February, China plans to release an unspecified amount of oil from its strategic reserves in line with a plan coordinated by the United States and other major oil consumers, according to sources with knowledge of the talks between the two nations. The goal is to lower global oil prices, and the amount that China releases will be contingent upon price levels at that time, the sources said. (Reuters)
 

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What Else You Need to Know

General
 

Cruz’s Nord Stream 2 sanctions bill fails to pass in U.S. Senate

Timothy Gardner and Richard Cowan, Reuters

The U.S. Senate on Thursday failed to pass a bill to slap sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline sponsored by Republican Senator Ted Cruz, a day after Democrats unveiled their own legislation.

 

White House scientific integrity panel draws its own scrutiny

Andrew Freedman and Alison Snyder, Axios

The Biden administration’s push to bolster scientific integrity policies across federal agencies yielded its first report this week, but a co-chair of the report’s panel is facing her own questions from the scientific community about a recent research integrity ethics breach.

 

Biden nixes Trump’s efficiency loophole for quick dishwashers, washers, dryers

Rachel Frazin, The Hill

The Biden administration this week reversed a Trump-era rule exempting quick dishwashers, as well as clothes washers and dryers, from efficiency regulations.

 

Energy Ended Up as a Good Bet Last Year. But Now What?

J. Alex Tarquinio, The New York Times

Oil prices soared in 2021, giving a boost to the stocks of energy companies. But with the world shifting toward greener alternatives, don’t count on that trend continuing.

 
Climate Change and Emissions
 

Biden nominates climate champ as Fed’s bank cop

Avery Ellfeldt, E&E News

President Biden is expected to nominate Sarah Bloom Raskin, one of the United States’ most prominent climate finance hawks, to be the Federal Reserve’s top bank cop. 

 

Brainard Says the Fed Won’t Dictate Bank Lending on Climate Risks

Jesse Hamilton, Bloomberg

Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard, who has been tapped by President Joe Biden to serve as vice chair, said that the U.S. central bank won’t tell lenders to avoid fossil fuel companies as some progressive groups have urged. 

 

In photos: 2021’s devastating climate disasters

Axios

Climate disasters in 2021 affected millions of lives, caused billions of dollars in economic loss across the world and brought into stark reality the perils of higher temperatures and climate change in general.

 

Maersk could push the entire shipping industry to move up its climate goals

Nicolás Rivero, Quartz

Maersk, the world’s second-largest shipping line, pledged on Jan. 12 to make its business carbon neutral by 2040 instead of its previously stated goal of 2050. The company also expanded its net-zero emissions pledge to include the emissions produced by its energy consumption and its supply chains, something few major corporations have proven willing to do.

 

How the rich could stop climate change

Nick Ferris, The New Statesman

The global clean energy transition will not come cheap, but billionaires could do much more to finance this change.

 
Renewables and Storage
 

NineDot Lands Carlyle Investment for New York Battery Projects

Matt Wirz, The Wall Street Journal

David Arfin, a pioneer of rooftop solar power in the U.S., is developing a dozen basketball court-sized electric battery sites in New York City with a recent investment from Carlyle Group Inc.

 

Infrastructure Tech Spending Goes to Broadband, Clean Energy

Mark Bergen and Minh-Anh Nguyen, Bloomberg

The really big money is aimed at improving internet service, with a wide range of programs receiving smaller grants.

 
Oil, Gas and Alternative Fuels
 

Oil Producers Aren’t Keeping Up With Demand, Causing Prices to Stay High

Stanley Reed, The New York Times

OPEC Plus, the United States and others have been slow to ramp up output, lagging production goals.

 

One of the World’s Dirtiest Oil Patches Is Pumping More Than Ever

Vipal Monga, The Wall Street Journal

Major oil companies, under pressure from investors and environmentalists, are fleeing Canada’s oil sands, the fourth-largest oil reserve in the world and by some measures one of the most environmentally unfriendly. Investment in existing projects has stalled, and banks are refusing to fund new ones.

 

Canada to Face Challenge in Remaining Oil Power, IEA Warns

Robert Tuttle, Bloomberg

Canada will face challenges in retaining its status as a global oil and gas power in a world transitioning toward net zero carbon emissions by mid-century, the International Energy Agency said.

 
Transportation
 

Tesla delays initial production of Cybertruck to early 2023 – source

Hyunjoo Jin, Reuters

Tesla Inc aims to start initial production of its much-anticipated Cybertruck by the end of the first quarter of 2023, pushing back its plan to begin production late this year, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

 

For BP, car chargers to overtake pumps in profitability race

Ron Bousso, Reuters

BP says its fast electric vehicle chargers are on the cusp of becoming more profitable than filling up a petrol car.

 

Automakers Say They Won’t Let Tesla Steal the Truck Race

David Welch, Bloomberg

They’re fielding electric Silverados and F-150s to defend the most profitable part of their market.

 

FAA’s bid to reduce airplane emissions

Andrew Freedman, Axios

The FAA is poised to expand its implementation of continuous approaches at more airports this year to save fuel and greenhouse gas emissions.

 

In a comparison of life-cycle emissions, EVs crushed combustion cars

Prachi Patel, Anthropocene

“The elephant in the room is the supply chain of fossil fuel-powered vehicles, not that of electric vehicles,” says lead researcher.

 

Cities Want Ebikes to Stay in Their Lane—but Which One?

Aarian Marshall, Wired

From New York to Moab, Utah, bicyclists and municipal officials are divided over whether ebikes should be permitted on bicycle trails.

 
Electricity, Utilities and Infrastructure
 

U.S. Plans to Spend $27 Billion to Repair Bridges

Julie Bykowicz, The Wall Street Journal

The White House on Friday plans to announce more than $27 billion in spending over the next five years to repair dilapidated bridges across the country, including full funding for structures that aren’t part of the federal highway system.

 

Global surge in electricity use could bring three more years of price rises

Jillian Ambrose, The Guardian

The global surge in demand for energy could spark another three years of market volatility and record power plant pollution unless countries make major changes to how they generate electricity, the world’s energy watchdog has warned.

 
Environment, Land and Resources
 

Deforestation puts financial system at risk: report

Saul Elbein, The Hill

U.S. banks are actively funding a global epidemic of deforestation and land degradation that puts the nation’s financial stability at risk, according to a new report.

 

Earth is running low on wildlife. Plants will be next.

Benji Jones, Vox

Many plants need to migrate to survive climate change, but they’re losing their animal rides.

 

IKEA buys land damaged by hurricane in Florida to plant forests

Reuters

Ingka Group, the owner of most IKEA furniture stores worldwide, has bought more land in the United States as part of a long-term commitment to responsible forest management, it said on Thursday.

 

The boreal of Minnesota could look like Kansas if CO2 emissions remain ‘business as usual’

Ed Struzik, Grist

From Minnesota to the Northwest Territories, researchers are studying dramatic changes in the vast northern forests.

 
Coal/Nuclear
 

Lummis blocks Biden’s EPA picks in bid to defend coal plants

Kevin Bogardus and Sean Reilly, E&E News

Wyoming Republican Sen. Cynthia Lummis has stalled confirmation of President Biden’s pick for EPA enforcement chief over concerns about the agency’s handling of coal power plants in her state. Lummis also has placed holds on Biden’s remaining EPA picks, her office confirmed to E&E News.

 
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
 

Mayor Adams, Let’s Build a Bigger Manhattan

Jason M. Barr, The New York Times

On Jan. 1, 2022, Eric Adams was sworn in as New York’s 110th mayor. He is now in charge of the city’s response to big, and growing, problems. One is a housing affordability crisis. Another concerns the ravages of climate change: sea level rise, flooding and storm surges.

 

Why our secret weapon against the climate crisis could be humour

Adam McKay and Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, The Guardian

We can’t just sit back and watch what’s happening to the planet. We are not an audience. Like it or not, we are in this story.

 

1 in 3 Americans now ‘alarmed’ by climate change. Why aren’t our leaders?

Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times

New results from a long-running public opinion survey show that about 1 in 3 Americans is now “alarmed” by global warming. Is it any wonder, given the horrific onslaught of fires, floods, heat waves and other climate disasters we’ve experienced in the last year alone?

 
Morning Consult