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Oil-rich Saudi Arabia insists fossil fuels still needed despite global warming fears

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Saudi Oil Minister did not refer specifically to the conference, but said he believed improving the technology for reducing emissions from fossil fuel plants was as important as boosting the use of renewable sources of energy (AFP Photo/Fayez Nureldine)

Leading crude exporter Saudi Arabia supports efforts to limit global warming but believes fossil fuels should remain part of the world energy mix, Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Wednesday.

Naimi was speaking at a meeting of major fossil fuel producer and consumer nations in Riyadh ahead of a UN conference on climate change in Paris later this month.

Saudi Arabia is seen as an opponent of a proposed treaty to be discussed at the conference that would demand legally binding commitments from signatory countries on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

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Naimi did not refer specifically to the conference, but said he believed improving the technology for reducing emissions from fossil fuel plants was as important as boosting the use of renewable sources of energy in meeting emissions targets.

“I believe all the nations represented (at this meeting), and many beyond, share a belief that carbon capture and storage is a critical part of the global quest to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

“We believe all forms of energy will be required to help meet the needs of future generations,” said Naimi, whose country sits on 16 percent of world oil reserves.

“Renewable forms of energy, such as nuclear, solar and wind are increasingly utilised, and they complement fossil fuels.”

The November 30-December 11 UN summit in Paris aims to unite all the world’s nations in a single agreement on tackling climate change, with the goal of capping warming at two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.

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Naimi said Saudi Arabia is not in “dire need” to cut domestic energy subsidies, which the International Monetary Fund had recommended among other adjustments to reduce a deficit triggered by plummeting oil prices.

“You only go back and take assistance away (from people) if you are in dire need, and, fortunately, Saudi Arabia is not today in such a dire need,” he told reporters.

Naimi also questioned the use of the term subsidies, saying that the price of domestic fuel in the kingdom is still higher than the cost the government pays for production.

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The IMF said in September that energy price subsidies accounted for 8.0 percent of the Saudi gross domestic product in 2014, or around $60 billion.

The kingdom — the largest Arab economy and the world’s biggest oil exporter — is facing an unprecedented budget crunch after crude prices dropped by more than half in a year to below $50 a barrel.

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2020 Election

Trump-Biden race could hinge on how this one Florida county swings

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Betty Jones voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, but the lifelong Republican has her doubts she will do it again this year.

The federal response to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed about 200,000 Americans and forced older adults to restrict their activities has her contemplating a leadership change.

It “makes me unsure,” said Jones, 78, of Largo, in Pinellas County, Florida. Before COVID-19, she said, she would have definitely voted for Trump.

Polls show that many people will have the pandemic and its public health and economic consequences on their minds when they cast their votes — whether by mail or in person — this fall. Early in-person voting starts Oct. 19 in most Florida counties, including Pinellas.

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Muckraker’s fight to unseal FBI files on Jeffrey Epstein kept alive by judge

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WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Tuesday kept alive a citizen muckraker’s quest to pry loose for the public’s benefit tens of thousands of FBI documents about disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, including his time as a government informant.Self-styled public information crusader Angela Clemente sued in May, seeking to force the FBI to release the documents on the grounds that Epstein is now dead, albeit under mysterious circumstances, and that there is an overarching public interest in releasing documents. The Justice Department, representing the FBI, is fighting the effort.In a status hearing... (more…)

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Mark David Chapman says he was seeking ‘glory’ when he murdered John Lennon

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ALBANY, N.Y. — John Lennon’s killer said he was seeking “glory” when he shot the Beatles star in cold blood 40 years ago but now thinks he deserved the death penalty for his “despicable act,” according to a transcript of his most recent parole hearing obtained by the Daily News.Mark David Chapman, who shot Lennon four times outside of his Upper West Side apartment building on Dec. 8, 1980, was denied parole for the 11th time last month.During his appearance before the State Parole Board, Chapman expressed remorse for his actions that night, saying he killed the famed songwriter because he was ... (more…)

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