Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) greets supporters during an event at Mountain Range High School in Westminster, Colorado, September 29, 2008.      REUTERS/Jason Reed      (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008  (USA) *** Local Caption ***  OBA04_USA-POLITICS-_0929_11.JPG
Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate, greets supporters during an event at Mountain Range High School in Westminster, Colorado.

Obama faces coal conundrum



Denver // Barack Obama likes to portray himself as the ultimate environmentalist, but on the issue of coal, the Democratic presidential candidate's green ideals bump up against hard political and economic realities. Mr Obama and his running mate, Joe Biden, are promising to lead the United States though an energy revolution that will create five million jobs in renewable energy, reduce dependence on foreign oil and cut carbon emissions. But the Illinois senator comes from a state that mined more than 27 million tonnes of coal in 2007, earning about US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) in revenues for coal firms there. Mr Obama cannot afford to lose voters in coal-producing constituencies, nor risk higher energy costs with the economy in turmoil. Many environmentalists cringe when Mr Obama touts "clean coal" as the way of the future. "There is no such thing as clean coal," said Jonathon Dorn of the Earth Policy Institute. "If we want the world to move forward we must leave coal behind." There is no denying that Mr Obama faces a serious coal conundrum. The United States is a major coal producer and consumer, yet globally, the burning of coal accounts for 40 per cent of world carbon-dioxide emissions. "There will be no solution to climate change minus a solution on coal," said Jonathan Banks of the Clean Air Task Force. Both Mr Obama and John McCain, the Republican candidate, support the development of so-called "clean coal" plants, which would capture and bury carbon-dioxide emissions. Environmentalists say such technology is decades away from being implemented on a large scale, and may not be economically viable once they are. In 2007, Mr Obama shocked environmentalists when he introduced the "Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Promotion Act", a bill that would have funded the creation of a coal-based liquid to run cars and power plants. Mr Banks said Mr Obama's support for the gasification of coal appears to reflect a position of pragmatism - that coal is not going away any time soon - and an understanding that liquefying coal may be the least offensive process from an environmental standpoint. "If you get real about coal, and accept the fact that it is going to grow - not go away but grow - then it is imperative we build plants that reduce emissions to a level we can live with," Mr Banks said. But some charge that the candidates are not making these decisions freely. The Center for Responsive Politics has reported that Mr Obama tops the list of US members of Congress receiving donations from the coal industry in the current election cycle. Mr Obama accepted US$248,000 in campaign funds, the centre reported, while Mr McCain's ticket pocketed US$93,000. "With so much coal industry money going into the campaigns," Mr Dorn said, "we cannot expect a truthful dialogue on this issue." Despite his uneasy affair with the coal industry, Mr Obama has put forward a comprehensive environmental platform, one that promises to make the United States a leader on climate change by committing to a programme that would reduce 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Yet as the US economy lurches towards recession, fuel prices skyrocket and unemployment rates soar to a seven-year high, that goal seems to clash with economic realities. Coal still provides half of the electricity in the United States and more than 80,000 mining jobs. Last week, a former Colorado congressman claimed the Obama-Biden ticket represented a "threat" to the Rocky Mountain state's energy needs. Colorado produces 32.6 million tonnes of coal per year, making it the country's seventh largest coal producer, and the state gets 73 per cent of its energy from coal. "Coal is a critical resource for this nation," said Scott McInnis, a former Republican member of the House of Representatives, during a conference call with reporters and party members. Mr McInnis was seizing on a comment Mr Biden made during a recent campaign stop in Ohio that "we are not supporting clean coal". In fact, the Obama-Biden energy plan calls for investment in "low-emissions coal plants", and the creation of the world's first coal-fired factories that would practice capture-and-bury technology. When Republicans seized on Mr Biden's comment, the Obama campaign was forced to back pedal, claiming the Delaware senator was talking about China's outdated coal plants, not those in the United States. The Biden gaffe could cause headaches for the Obama campaign in several battleground states, including Pennsylvania and Virginia - both of which rely heavily on coal for energy. Environmental groups say the argument disguises a key statistic - even though coal output has climbed by almost one-third in the past two decades, the industry now employs half as many people as it did 20 years ago. There may be far more potential in renewable energies such as solar, biofuels and wind energy, according to Mr Dorn. "Renewable energy creates 40 per cent more jobs per dollar invested than the coal industry," he said. "It's to no one's advantage to stay with coal." gpeters@thenational.ae

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance: the specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 plus rear-mounted electric motor

Power: 843hp at N/A rpm

Torque: 1470Nm N/A rpm

Transmission: 9-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 8.6L/100km

On sale: October to December

Price: From Dh875,000+(estimate)

Gulf Under 19s final

Dubai College A 50-12 Dubai College B

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

Difference between fractional ownership and timeshare

Although similar in its appearance, the concept of a fractional title deed is unlike that of a timeshare, which usually involves multiple investors buying “time” in a property whereby the owner has the right to occupation for a specified period of time in any year, as opposed to the actual real estate, said John Peacock, Head of Indirect Tax and Conveyancing, BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates, a law firm.

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Tips on buying property during a pandemic

Islay Robinson, group chief executive of mortgage broker Enness Global, offers his advice on buying property in today's market.

While many have been quick to call a market collapse, this simply isn’t what we’re seeing on the ground. Many pockets of the global property market, including London and the UAE, continue to be compelling locations to invest in real estate.

While an air of uncertainty remains, the outlook is far better than anyone could have predicted. However, it is still important to consider the wider threat posed by Covid-19 when buying bricks and mortar. 

Anything with outside space, gardens and private entrances is a must and these property features will see your investment keep its value should the pandemic drag on. In contrast, flats and particularly high-rise developments are falling in popularity and investors should avoid them at all costs.

Attractive investment property can be hard to find amid strong demand and heightened buyer activity. When you do find one, be prepared to move hard and fast to secure it. If you have your finances in order, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Lenders continue to lend and rates remain at an all-time low, so utilise this. There is no point in tying up cash when you can keep this liquidity to maximise other opportunities. 

Keep your head and, as always when investing, take the long-term view. External factors such as coronavirus or Brexit will present challenges in the short-term, but the long-term outlook remains strong. 

Finally, keep an eye on your currency. Whenever currency fluctuations favour foreign buyers, you can bet that demand will increase, as they act to secure what is essentially a discounted property.

If you go

The flights

Fly direct to London from the UAE with Etihad, Emirates, British Airways or Virgin Atlantic from about Dh2,500 return including taxes. 

The hotel

Rooms at the convenient and art-conscious Andaz London Liverpool Street cost from £167 (Dh800) per night including taxes.

The tour

The Shoreditch Street Art Tour costs from £15 (Dh73) per person for approximately three hours. 

Our Time Has Come
Alyssa Ayres, Oxford University Press

Brief scores:

Manchester City 3

Bernardo Silva 16', Sterling 57', Gundogan 79'

Bournemouth 1

Wilson 44'

Man of the match: Leroy Sane (Manchester City)

Bawaal

Director: Nitesh Tiwari

Stars: Varun Dhawan, Janhvi Kapoor

Rating: 1/5

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

THE STRANGERS' CASE

Director: Brandt Andersen
Starring: Omar Sy, Jason Beghe, Angeliki Papoulia
Rating: 4/5

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

RESULTS

6.30pm: Maiden (TB) Dh 82,500 (Dirt) 1.600m
Winner: Miller’s House, Richard Mullen (jockey), Satish Seemar (trainer).

7.05pm: Maiden (TB) Dh 82,500 (D) 2,000m
Winner: Kanood, Adrie de Vries, Fawzi Nass.

7.50pm: Handicap (TB) Dh 82,500 (D) 1,600m
Winner: Gervais, Sandro Paiva, Ali Rashid Al Raihe.

8.15pm: The Garhoud Sprint Listed (TB) Dh 132,500 (D) 1,200m
Winner: Important Mission, Royston Ffrench, Salem bin Ghadayer.

8.50pm: The Entisar Listed (TB) Dh 132,500 (D) 2,000m
Winner: Firnas, Xavier Ziani, Salem bin Ghadayer.

9.25pm: Conditions (TB) Dh 120,000 (D) 1,400m
Winner: Zhou Storm, Connor Beasley, Ali Rashid Al Raihe.

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 630bhp

Torque: 900Nm

Price: Dh810,000

The biog

Alwyn Stephen says much of his success is a result of taking an educated chance on business decisions.

His advice to anyone starting out in business is to have no fear as life is about taking on challenges.

“If you have the ambition and dream of something, follow that dream, be positive, determined and set goals.

"Nothing and no-one can stop you from succeeding with the right work application, and a little bit of luck along the way.”

Mr Stephen sells his luxury fragrances at selected perfumeries around the UAE, including the House of Niche Boutique in Al Seef.

He relaxes by spending time with his family at home, and enjoying his wife’s India cooking. 


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