Saudi Arabia will meet the environmental challenge — energy minister

Prince Abdul Aziz highlighted Saudi projects in energy efficiency, solar power generation, and renewables. (Screengrab)
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Updated 25 June 2020

Saudi Arabia will meet the environmental challenge — energy minister

  • Prince Abdul Aziz highlighted Saudi projects in energy efficiency, solar power generation, and renewables
  • He was speaking at a webinar organized by the Future Investment Initiative (FII) Institute from New York

Saudi Arabia will continue to use its vast oil reserves in an environmentally efficient way, Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman told an international audience of thought leaders on Thursday.
“I can assure you that Saudi Arabia will not only be the last producer, but Saudi Arabia will produce every molecule of hydrocarbon and it will put it to good use, and it will be done in a most environmentally sound and more sustainable way. I’m willing to say that by 2050, we’ll be the last and the biggest producer of hydrocarbon,” he said at a webinar organized by the Future Investment Initiative (FII) Institute.

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READ MORE: AS IT HAPPENED: FII Institute’s ‘Don’t Forget Our Planet’ virtual conference

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“I love challenges … We’ll live up to the challenge of sitting on a huge amount of hydrocarbon, and we’ll make better use of it,” he added.
“You should come and see all the young boys and girls of Saudi Arabia, how they aspire to these challenges and how they’re inspired by them. We’ll be the pacesetter.”
The prince was speaking on a panel with other energy leaders on the subject of “the new sustainable energy equation,” discussing the challenges and opportunities presented by recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
He reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s commitment to the concept of the circular carbon economy, which seeks to remove harmful pollutants from the environment via a mixture of recycling and removing pollutants, as well as sophisticated technology to remove emissions from the industrial process. “We’re trying to lead by example, and we’re putting our money where our mouth is,” he said.

The prince highlighted Saudi projects in energy efficiency, solar power generation and renewables that aim to generate half of the Kingdom’s electricity from non-hydrocarbon sources by 2030. “We have a leadership that values sustainability,” he said.
The event — the second in a series of online gatherings leading up to the FII forum in Riyadh in October — was opened by the governor of the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, who emphasized the need for a sustainable recovery from the economic shock of the pandemic.

“The recovery from the pandemic will give us the opportunity to hit the reset button,” the governor said, highlighting Saudi Arabia’s initiatives via public-private partnerships in recycling, energy efficiency, alternative energy sources and environmental protection.
The keynote speaker of the event was British anthropologist Jane Goodall, who said the response by governments to the pandemic had been “pretty good.” She added: “If only we’d responded in the same way to the climate crisis.”

Decoder

What is circular carbon economy?

Circular economy is a system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources. Inspired by how nature works, it is a closed-loop system where carbon emissions are reduced, reused, recycled and removed.


S&P 500 inches closer to record high

Updated 12 August 2020

S&P 500 inches closer to record high

  • US stock market index returns to levels last seen before the onset of coronavirus crisis

NEW YORK: The S&P 500 on Tuesday closed in on its February record high, returning to levels last seen before the onset of the coronavirus crisis that caused one of Wall Street’s most dramatic crashes in history.

The benchmark index was about half a percent below its peak hit on Feb. 19, when investors started dumping shares in anticipation of what proved to be the biggest slump in the US economy since the Great Depression.

Ultra-low interest rates, trillions of dollars in stimulus and, more recently, a better-than-feared second quarter earnings season have allowed all three of Wall Street’s main indexes to recover.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq has led the charge, boosted by “stay-at-home winners” Amazon.com Inc., Netflix Inc. and Apple Inc. The index was down about 0.4 percent.

The blue chip Dow surged 1.2 percent, coming within 5 percent of its February peak.

“You’ve got to admit that this is a market that wants to go up, despite tensions between US-China, despite news of the coronavirus not being particularly encouraging,” said Andrea Cicione, a strategist at TS Lombard.

“We’re facing an emergency from the health, economy and employment point of view — the outlook is a lot less rosy. There’s a disconnect between valuation and the actual outlook even though lower rates to some degree justify high valuation.”

Aiding sentiment, President Vladimir Putin claimed Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine. But the approval’s speed has concerned some experts as the vaccine still must complete final trials.

Investors are now hoping Republicans and Democrats will resolve their differences and agree on another relief program to support about 30 million unemployed Americans, as the battle with the virus outbreak was far from over with US cases surpassing 5 million last week.

Also in focus are Sino-US tensions ahead of high-stakes trade talks in the coming weekend.

“Certainly the rhetoric from Washington has been negative with regards to China ... there’s plenty of things to worry about, but markets are really focused more on the very easy fiscal and monetary policies at this point,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

Financials, energy and industrial sectors, that have lagged the benchmark index this year, provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500 on Tuesday.

The S&P 500 was set to rise for the eighth straight session, its longest streak of gains since April 2019.

The S&P 500 was up 15.39 points, or 0.46 percent, at 3,375.86, about 18 points shy of its high of 3,393.52. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 341.41 points, or 1.23 percent, at 28,132.85, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 48.37 points, or 0.44 percent, at 10,919.99.

Royal Caribbean Group jumped 4.6 percent after it hinted at new safety measures aimed at getting sailing going again after months of cancellations. Peers Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. and Carnival Corp. also rose.

US mall owner Simon Property Group Inc. gained 4.1 percent despite posting a disappointing second quarter profit, as its CEO expressed some hope over a recovery in retail as lockdown measures in some regions eased.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners 3.44-to-1 on the NYSE and 1.44-to-1 on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 35 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 50 new highs and four new lows.