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Fossils or not? Nations split on how to meet climate goals


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German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, center, attends the weekly cabinet meeting of the German government at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, May 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

By Frank Jordans in Berlin

BERLIN (AP) — Senior officials from dozens of nations meeting in Berlin remained divided Wednesday on how to meet international climate goals, with some pushing for a phase-out of fossil fuels and others insisting that oil and gas can continue to play a role in the future — provided their emissions are somehow contained.

The two-day Petersberg Climate Dialogue hosted by Germany heard calls for a new target on ramping up renewable energy to be negotiated and agreed at this year’s U.N. climate summit in December.

But German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock made clear that this proposal should not detract from the need to drastically cut fossil fuel use, a position shared by other European nations and vulnerable island states present at the Berlin talks.

The United Arab Emirates, which will host the U.N. talks in Dubai, backed the idea of significantly boosting wind and solar power, but made clear it wants to keep fossil fuels as an option for the foreseeable future.

Sultan al-Jaber, the UAE official who will chair the Dubai talks, said his country wants “a comprehensive, holistic approach to an energy transition that included all sources of energy.”

Al-Jaber acknowledged that time is running out to keep alive the agreed target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit). Doing so would require global emissions to halve by 2030, sharply bending down the current upward curve of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Climate campaigners have expressed concern that technologies proposed for capturing fossil fuel emissions aren’t tested at scale yet, and that such solutions could divert attention and resources away from effective alternatives such as renewable energy.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz used the meeting to announce that his country will provide an additional 2 billion euros to the Green Climate Fund for adaptation measures in developing countries. He appealed to other “traditional and possible new donors” to also increase their funding. The United States recently said it would commit $1 billion, while major emitters such as China are not contributing.


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Moneris confirms credit and debit card processing outage, but offers few details

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The Canadian payment processing firm Moneris confirmed Saturday that credit and debit card transactions were interrupted by a network outage earlier in the day.

The Toronto-based technology company issued a statement saying there was nothing to suggest the outage was related to a cyber attack.

Complaints about outages started rolling in to the website before noon eastern time, but Moneris did not say when the outage started.

About three hours later, Moneris posted a message on X — the  social media site formerly known as Twitter — saying it had resolved the network problem.

It remains unclear how many businesses and transactions were affected, but data provided by indicated complaints had come in from across the country.

In a statement provided to The Canadian Press, the company said the outage lasted about 90 minutes.

“We have resolved the network outage and returned transaction processing to normal,” the statement said. “We continue to investigate the root cause of the issue. There are no indications this appears to be cyber-attack related and all transaction systems are functioning normally again.”

The company, a joint venture between  Royal Bank and BMO Bank of Montreal, said transaction processing could be slow as its systems catch up with the backlog.

Moneris says it supports more than 325,000 merchant locations across Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2024.

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Smith says despite difficulty with Ottawa, Alberta has allies in Trudeau cabinet

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Alberta Premier Danielle Smith speaks to business leaders at the Global Business Forum in Banff, Alta., Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. Smith told the conference that despite her concerns with the federal Liberal government there was some cabinet ministers she can work with. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

By Bill Graveland in Banff

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith told a business conference on Friday that despite her concerns with the federal Liberal government, there are some cabinet ministers she can work with.

Smith has been at odds with federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson amid concerns over Ottawa’s climate-change policies and transition plan for a net-zero emissions economy.

Guilbeault intends to publish draft regulations this fall to cap emissions from oil and gas, then force them downward overtime. Ottawa has also set a target to have the electricity grid be net-zero by 2035, but Alberta says it’s unrealistic.

Smith says Alberta won’t implement the emissions cap, nor will it follow the 2035 target.

The premier told delegates at the Global Business Forum in Banff, Alta., that Wilkinson needs to answer for comments he made earlier this week at the World Petroleum Congress in Calgary.

Wilkinson’s call for the industry to work aggressively to get to net-zero was basically telling them to “pack it up, because the oil and gas industry is winding down,” said Smith.

“You could just feel the energy leave the room and you could just feel the investment dollars leave the room.”

Smith said energy producing provinces such as Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, can’t trust the Trudeau government to look out for their interests at international conferences.

“After hearing how the natural resources minister talks about our industry, after hearing how the federal environment minister talks about our industry, we can’t afford to let them carry our message,” Smith said.

“We can’t afford not to be there.”

Smith said she has been in discussions with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and intends to talk to Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey about joint presentations at conferences in the future.

Despite her disappointment with Wilkinson and Guilbeault, Smith said it’s not all bad.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland among the top allies, she said.

“Let’s give her credit for shepherding through all of the constant need to give more debt financing to Trans Mountain pipeline to get that to the finish line. That has not been easy,” Smith said.

She also praised Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc, Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan and Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault.

“I would say it’s not uniformly negative in the Liberal caucus. But for some reason they’re allowing Stephen Guilbeault to be a maverick and a renegade and quite offensive to those of who are trying to be reasonable and adult about this,” Smith said.

Smith said it’s time for the federal government to back away from setting “aggressive targets” in dealing with the provinces.

“Aggressive targets are not helpful. They’re not helpful to us. They’re not helpful to investors.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2023.

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