Biden oil reserves bet melds China outreach with appeal to U.S. voters
President Joe Biden’s historic move to release oil from strategic reserves in coordination with big nations including China represents a unique bet that finding common ground with the United States’ biggest economic rival can help dampen fuel prices for middle class Americans.
The move, announced by the U.S. on Tuesday, underscores the complicated relationship Biden is trying to craft with China as he seeks agreement on key issues like climate change and trade, while linked in an economic arms race. The rare moment of cooperation comes as inflation, and especially high gasoline prices, eat at Biden’s popularity at home.
“This is a new era of oil diplomacy for the U.S. to coordinate with India and China” said Daniel Yergin, an oil historian and the vice chairman of IHS Markit. Cooperation with China is likely to stick to energy and environment.
“Climate and energy are in a separate category from all the tough issues that need to be dealt with between the two countries,” Yergin said.
The Biden administration’s diplomatic inroads with China first surfaced in Glasgow, Scotland this month where the two countries hammered out a surprise deal on boosting action on climate change including reducing emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
“Glasgow showed that there is some level of common interest and diplomacy that can be successful between the United States and China,” said Amy Myers Jaffee, a research professor at Tufts University and expert on global energy markets and climate.
Jaffee said both countries recognized the importance of a global climate agreement. “I would say ‘Ditto’ on the oil market,” Jaffee said.
Washington has stark differences with Beijing on trade issues and human rights concerns related to Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Tibet and Taiwan. But the world’s top two economies would benefit from energy cooperation given their adversarial relations with Saudi Arabia and Russia in terms of keeping oil prices low for consumers.
Combined, the United States and China consume nearly 35 million barrels of oil a day, more than a third of global demand. Even though the United States has become one of the world’s largest oil producers, it is still the second-largest importer of crude, trailing only China.
U.S. gas prices at seven-year high U.S. gas prices at seven-year high https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-GASOLINE/PRICES/znvnekmrbpl/chart.png
The world’s top oil-importing nations https://graphics.reuters.com/GLOBAL-OI/lbpgnbezdvq/chart.png
China now imports more than 10 million barrels of oil a day, The United States imports about 6 million barrels per day, though in recent years it has sharply reduced its dependency on OPEC producers, with most of its imports now from Canada.
While China did not announce an oil tap on Tuesday, Biden spoke earlier with China’s President Xi Jinping about opening their reserves and Chinese officials said on Nov. 18 they are working on a release. China held the first ever release of oil from its reserve in September, which aimed to stabilize prices.
The broader group of countries that have elected to work with the United States and release oil from their reserves include other large importers, including India, Japan and South Korea, which rank third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
U.S. oil prices hit a seven-year high in late October driving inflation and hitting Biden’s approval rating ahead of midterm elections next year. With razor thin majorities in both chambers of Congress, Biden’s fellow Democrats can ill afford to lose seats in 2022.
REPEAT DEAL TRICKY
Biden could take additional action in coordinating with other countries to maintain supply as the COVID-19 pandemic eases, the White House in a statement Tuesday.
Actually doing so may not be easy.
“Not only could U.S.-China tensions complicate further cooperation, but the U.S. stands apart from other strategic reserve holders in that its legislature has ordered the
selling off of strategic stockpiles” to finance government programs, ClearView Energy Partners, a nonpartisan research group, said in a note to clients.
Some 18 million barrels of the U.S. release was simply a front-loading of required sales that were mandated by Congress in recent years.
There’s a risk that consumer countries and producing countries could keep upping the ante with opposing announcements on global oil supplies, a prospect that would likely make oil prices even more volatile, or what Yergin calls a “bloc versus bloc,” scenario.
But in the short term, the action by consuming countries is likely to put pressure on oil prices, Yergin said.
“This also comes at a time when the supply/demand balance is on a course to improve over the next few months, and this oil deal will add to that. What it means at least for now is you’ll hear a lot fewer predictions about $100 oil.”
(Reporting By Timothy Gardner and Jarrett Renshaw; additional reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault; Editing by David Gaffen, Heather Timmons and Alistair Bell)
Charge laid after multi-vehicle collision caused by geese crossing E.C. Row expressway – CBC.ca
Windsor police say a driver is facing a careless driving charge after stopping on the E.C. Row Expressway to let a family of geese cross the road.
This led to a collision involving a pickup truck and a transport truck, according to Staff Sgt. Rob Wilson.
“It sounds like a vehicle had stopped for a baby goose crossing the E.C. Row [Expressway],” he said.
“Another vehicle stopped and the transport truck collided with a portion of the pickup truck, causing it to veer off the ditch and roll over onto its side.”
Wilson said the transport truck driver was transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Driver describes geese crossing
Dale Cormier was driving eastbound toward Tecumseh when he spotted the geese starting to cross one of Windsor’s busiest roadways.
“Oh my God, I just missed them,” said Cormier, recalling three or four adult geese and nearly a dozen goslings by their side.
“It was just a little family of them.”
E.C. Row Expressway Eastbound around Howard Ave. is currently reduced to one lane, expected to cause some traffic delays.<br><br>This lane reduction is expected to last most of the day today, due to a motor vehicle accident involving a transport truck. <a href=”https://t.co/84mbCVpMZC”>pic.twitter.com/84mbCVpMZC</a>
Cormier said once he passed the geese he noticed other drivers trying to avoid them in his rearview mirror.
“Lucky for me, I had enough time … I just saw the cars swerving behind me,” he said.
He doesn’t think any of the geese were injured. He called police as soon as it was safe to do so.
“They didn’t believe me at first.”
Cormier said that there wasn’t likely anything a driver could have done to avoid hitting the geese, but said people should be more cautious while driving.
He said drivers were traveling at high speeds and bumper to bumper.
Police expect the eastbound lanes to be reduced for most of the day as they remove the transport truck.
Driving instructor provides advice
If drivers face a similar situation, they should make sure nobody is behind them before stopping, says Tristan Wallen, an instructor at Delta Driving School.
“Don’t stop in the middle of the road,” he said. “You want to get off the road, especially on a [fast]-moving road.”
Wallen says instructors teach their students that “a human life is worth a lot more than an animal.”
“You don’t want to cause someone else to get injured because you were trying to save some a goose or a squirrel or whatever it was crossing the street,” he continued.
The Ministry of Transportation’s Driver’s Handbook says in instances when animals are on the road, drivers should slow down and try to pass carefully “as they may suddenly bolt onto the road.”
Halifax-area wildfire 85% contained and not expected to spread, officials say – CBC.ca
If the power or data on your device is low, get your wildfire updates on CBC Lite. It’s our low-bandwidth, text-only website.
A wildfire burning northwest of Halifax is now 85 per cent contained, as Nova Scotia is getting much-needed rain Saturday.
Dave Steeves, a technician of forest resources with the Department of Natural Resources, said the fire hasn’t grown and is still about 950 hectares in size.
“We have changed from ‘out of control’ to a state of being held,” Steeves said during a media briefing early Saturday.
He said that means the fire is not likely to spread.
“The rain that we are getting now is going to help the suppression issues, but that being said this fire is not out and it will not be declared out for some time.”
He said any additional resources will be heading down to Shelburne County, where a massive wildfire is burning.
Some residents who had been evacuated from the area were allowed to return home on Friday, including those on Lucasville Road, St. George Boulevard and in the Stillwater Lake area.
Another livestreamed briefing is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday.
The Halifax Regional Municipality declared a local state of emergency Sunday night in order to access additional support.
Late Friday, the municipality said some resources were no longer required.
The comfort centre at the Beaver Bank Kinsac Community Centre has closed, and the Canada Games Centre has transitioned from a 24-hour evacuation centre to a comfort centre.
Comfort centres remain open at:
- Canada Games Centre | 26 Thomas Raddall Drive will operate as a comfort centre from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 3.
- Black Point and Area Community Centre | 8579 St. Margarets Bay Road will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 3.
According to a release, Nova Scotia Health’s mobility primary care clinic is hosting a drop-in clinic at the Canada Games Centre on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Major insurance companies will be available to speak with affected residents on Saturday at the Canada Games Centre. Future opportunities to speak with representatives will be available in the coming days.
Hundreds killed after passenger trains derail in India, officials say
At least 233 people were killed and 900 were injured when two passenger trains collided in India’s Odisha state, a government official said on Saturday, making the rail accident the country’s deadliest in more than a decade.
The death toll from Friday’s crash is expected to increase, state Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena said in a tweet.
He said over 200 ambulances had been called to the scene of the accident in Odisha’s Balasore district and 100 additional doctors, on top of 80 already there, had been mobilized.
Early on Saturday morning, Reuters video footage showed police officials moving bodies covered in white cloths off the railway tracks.
Footage from Friday showed rescuers climbing up the mangled wreck of one of the trains to find survivors, while passengers called for help and sobbed next to the wreckage.
2 express trains collided
The collision occurred at about 7 p.m. local time on Friday when the Howrah Superfast Express, running from Bangalore to Howrah, West Bengal, collided with the Coromandel Express, which runs from Kolkata to Chennai.
Authorities have provided conflicting accounts on which train derailed first to become entangled with the other. The Ministry of Railways said it has initiated an investigation into the crash.
Although Chief Secretary Jena and some media reports have suggested a freight train was also involved in the crash, railway authorities have yet to comment on that possibility.
An extensive search-and-rescue operation has been mounted, involving hundreds of fire department personnel and police officers as well as sniffer dogs. National Disaster Response Force teams were also at the site.
On Friday, hundreds of young people lined up outside a government hospital in Odisha’s Soro to donate blood.
According to Indian Railways, its network facilitates the transportation of more than 13 million people every day. But the state-run monopoly has had a patchy safety record because of aging infrastructure.
Odisha’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik declared a day of state mourning on June 3 as a mark of respect to the victims.
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