Germany Urges China to Find Alternative to Coal

German vice-chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck during his visit to carmaker BMW's research and development center in Shanghai, China, on June 23. (Reuters) 
German vice-chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck during his visit to carmaker BMW's research and development center in Shanghai, China, on June 23. (Reuters) 
TT

Germany Urges China to Find Alternative to Coal

German vice-chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck during his visit to carmaker BMW's research and development center in Shanghai, China, on June 23. (Reuters) 
German vice-chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck during his visit to carmaker BMW's research and development center in Shanghai, China, on June 23. (Reuters) 

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Sunday that two Chinese officials he met in Beijing told him that China was expanding coal production for security reasons.

The Minister then said Beijing must find a safe alternative to coal.

“China is indispensable to achieving global climate goals and must find a safe alternative to coal, which accounted for nearly 60% of China's electricity supply in 2023,” Habeck said at the end of a four-day visit to East Asia.

Officials told Habeck that China was expanding coal production for security reasons, the minister told reporters in the southern city of Hangzhou, the day after meeting Chinese officials in Beijing.

“China also imports large amounts of gas and oil and China has already seen what has happened in Europe and Germany in the last two years,” he added, referring to the energy crisis triggered by Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

He said cooperation with China must be strengthened, adding: “Without China it would not be possible to meet the climate targets globally.”

“You don't have to teach them that CO2 emissions are bad for the climate. They've got that,” Habeck said, adding that it should be possible to achieve the same level of security with fewer coal-fired power plants.

Later, Habeck told students at the university of Zhejiang that the difficulty lay in integrating variable forms of energy such as wind and solar into a system built to work on more predictable fuels, adding: “That is basically my work.”

He said that doubling capacities was "the old way" of doing it, but not the most efficient.

Habeck said extension of the power grid and use of batteries to store energy could reduce the number of traditionally fueled power plants needed to meet China's needs, adding that economic growth and climate action were not opposites.

“Transforming the economy to a climate-neutral one is not only good for the climate but creates new opportunities for wealth and growth,” he added.

Other issues seem to overshadow curbing global warming at the moment, but it is a key challenge, so strengthening cooperation with China in this area is necessary, the minister said.

During Habeck’s visit to China on June 22, Chinese and EU officials said they agreed to start talks on the proposed imposition of tariffs on Chinese-made electric vehicles being imported into the European market.



Egypt Raises Domestic Fuel Prices by up to 15% before IMF Review

This picture taken on March 20, 2024 shows a view of the Cairo University bridge across the Nile river connecting Cairo (R) with its twin city of Giza (L). (AFP)
This picture taken on March 20, 2024 shows a view of the Cairo University bridge across the Nile river connecting Cairo (R) with its twin city of Giza (L). (AFP)
TT

Egypt Raises Domestic Fuel Prices by up to 15% before IMF Review

This picture taken on March 20, 2024 shows a view of the Cairo University bridge across the Nile river connecting Cairo (R) with its twin city of Giza (L). (AFP)
This picture taken on March 20, 2024 shows a view of the Cairo University bridge across the Nile river connecting Cairo (R) with its twin city of Giza (L). (AFP)

Egypt raised the prices of a wide range of fuel products on Thursday, the official gazette said, four days before the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conducts a third review of its expanded $8 billion loan program for the country.

The official gazette, citing the petroleum ministry, said petrol prices increased by up to 15% per litre, with 80 octane rising to 12.25 Egyptian pounds ($0.25), 92 octane to 13.75 pounds and 95 octane to 15 pounds.

Diesel, one of the most commonly used fuels, saw the biggest increase, rising to 11.50 Egyptian pounds ($0.24) from 10 pounds, according to Reuters.

This is the second time the government has raised fuel prices since the IMF expanded its loan program by $5 billion in March. Egypt has committed to slashing fuel subsidies as part of the agreement.

But Egyptians who spoke to Reuters, including taxi driver Sayed Abdo, complained that Thursday's move would mean an automatic increase in prices for daily goods.

"If you ride with me today and usually pay 10 Egyptian pounds, I will ask you for 15, because fuel prices are raised. That's normal, because when I go get food, what I used to buy with 10 Egyptian pounds becomes now for 15," he said.

"We don't know where we're headed with these prices."

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said prices of petroleum products will gradually increase until the end of 2025, adding that the government could no longer bear the burden of increasing consumption.

Egyptians have also endured blackouts, which Madbouly said had ended at the start of this week, as the country struggled to import sufficient natural gas to tackle the summer heat.

In April, the IMF estimated that Egypt will spend 331 billion Egyptian pounds ($6.85 billion) on fuel subsidies in 2024/25 and 245 billion in 2025/26.

The IMF's approval for the third review of the expanded loan program was originally expected on July 10, but was pushed back to July 29, with the lender attributing the delay to the finalisation of some policy details.

The IMF is expected to disburse $820 million to Egypt after concluding its review.