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Supporters of President Donald Trump attend a political rally at Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, West Virginia, on August 21, 2018. 

MANDEL NGAN | AFP | Getty Images

Supporters of President Donald Trump attend a political rally at Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, West Virginia, on August 21, 2018. 

“The facts are the facts and people come and go, so we need to just go by the facts and get something done. So in the short term, it is about gas for coal, with some renewable energies on the side,” the CEO said, adding that steps taken in this direction would lead to “a better world.”

Coal, considered the dirtiest fossil fuel, was the second-largest source of U.S. electricity generation in 2017 at about 30 percent of the energy mix, according to the Energy Information Administration. Trump has made reviving the U.S. coal industry one of the cornerstones of his presidency, and critics accuse him of dismantling the previous administration’s efforts on green energy legislation, particularly after his 2017 withdrawal from the COP21 Paris accord.

The EIA also reports that the three major fossil fuels — petroleum, natural gas and coal — accounted for about 77 percent of primary energy production in the U.S. in 2017.

But al-Mazrouei was optimistic that the tide was turning in the U.S., emphasizing that the world’s largest economy is an ally, and as the largest producer and consumer of oil today, played a major role in the future of global energy.

“We don’t look at it as a political issue … We look at whatever the U.S. had to say, and we weigh it toward the overall challenges of energy,” the minister said, pointing to California’s push ahead in renewables as a positive example. He added that in the U.S., trends were pointing toward increased use of natural gas, the cleanest of the fossil fuels.

But what strikes al-Mazrouei as the most important development in energy use is the fact that renewable energy is becoming cheaper. “It’s not just something governments have to support for it to succeed. It’s a natural choice,” he said, adding that the key remaining challenge is availability, and making power generation cheaper and more efficient.

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Trump puts pressure on Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, supports Guaido

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U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday warned members of Venezuela’s military who are helping President Nicolas Maduro to stay in power that they are risking their future and their lives and urged them to allow humanitarian aid into the country.

Speaking to a cheering crowd mostly of Venezuelan and Cuban immigrants, Trump said if the Venezuelan military continues supporting Maduro, “you will find no safe harbor, no easy exit and no way out. You’ll lose everything.” He said he wanted a peaceful transition of power in Venezuela but that all options remained open.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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China says US is trying to block tech development by stoking cybersecurity fears

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China’s government on Monday accused the United States of trying to block its industrial development by alleging that Chinese mobile network gear poses a cybersecurity threat to countries rolling out new internet systems.

And in a potential blow to the U.S.’s effort to rally its allies on the issue, British media reported that the country’s intelligence agencies have found it’s possible to limit the security risks of using Chinese equipment in so-called 5G networks.

The U.S. argues that Beijing might use Chinese tech companies to gather intelligence about foreign countries. The Trump administration has been putting pressure on allies to shun networks supplied by Huawei Technologies, threatening the company’s access to markets for next-generation wireless gear.

The company, the biggest global maker of switching gear for phone and internet companies, denies accusations it facilitates Chinese spying and said it would reject any government demands to disclose confidential information about foreign customers.

The U.S. government is trying to “fabricate an excuse for suppressing the legitimate development” of Chinese enterprises, said the spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, Geng Shuang. He accused the United States of using “political means” to interfere in economic activity, “which is hypocritical, immoral and unfair bullying.”

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, speaking this weekend in Germany, urged European allies to take seriously “the threat” he said was posed by Huawei as they look for partners to build the new 5G mobile networks.

The 5G technology is meant to vastly expand the reach of networks to support internet-linked medical equipment, factory machines, self-driving cars and other devices. That makes it more politically sensitive and raises the potential cost of security failures.

Pence said Huawei and other Chinese telecom equipment makers provide Beijing with “access to any data that touches their network or equipment.” He appealed to European governments to “reject any enterprise that would compromise the integrity of our communications technology or our national security systems.”

In what could amount to a turning point for the U.S. effort to isolate Huawei, Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre has found that the risk of using its networks is manageable, according to the Financial Times and several other British media outlets.

The reports cited anonymous sources as saying that there are ways to limit cybersecurity risks, and that the U.K.’s decision would carry weight with European allies who are also evaluating the safety of their networks.

The British government is due to finish a review of its policies on the safety of 5G in March or April. The office of British Prime Minister Theresa May said Monday that “no decisions have been taken.”

European officials, including a vice president of the European Union, have expressed concern about Chinese regulations issued last year that require companies to cooperate with intelligence agencies. No country in Europe, however, has issued a blanket veto on using Huawei technology in the way the U.S. has urged.

The U.S. Justice Department last month unsealed charges against Huawei, its chief financial officer — who had been arrested in Canada — and several of the companies’ subsidiaries, alleging not only violation of trade sanctions but also the theft of trade secrets.

The United States has not, however, released evidence to support its accusations that Huawei and other Chinese tech companies allow the Chinese government to spy through their systems. That has prompted some industry analysts to suggest Washington is trying to use security concerns to handicap Chinese competitors.

“China has not and will not require companies or individuals to collect or provide foreign countries’ information for the Chinese government by installing backdoors or other actions that violate local laws,” said Geng.

Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre admitted last summer that it had concerns about the engineering and security of Huawei’s networks. While not commenting Monday on the media reports, it added: “We have set out the improvements we expect the company to make.”

Huawei said in a statement Monday that it’s open to dialogue and that “cybersecurity is an issue which needs to be addressed across the whole industry.”

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Germany’s Bafin bans Wirecard short positions, cites negative reports

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Germany’s financial watchdog Bafin on Monday issued a ban against establishing or increasing short positions in Wirecard AG stock, citing market uncertainties due to the German payments company’s weak share performance.

“There is a risk that an impact exerted on the share price of Wirecard AG as a result of net short positions being entered into or existing net short positions being increased will cause excessive price movements in the share price of Wirecard AG, given this company’s importance for the economy,” Bafin added.

“Short attacks” followed and facilitated by negative reporting in the media had targeted the company between 2008 and 2016, Bafin said, adding, “through which short-sellers profited from entering into certain positions, resulting in corresponding decreases in the share price of Wirecard AG.”

Following a series of investigative reports in the Financial Times alleging fraud and creative accounting, a constituent of Germany’s blue-chip DAX index shed $10 billion in value since the Financial Times ran the first of a series of three investigative reports at the end of January.

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