Oil may ‘hit $200 a bar­rel’

The Pak Banker - - International3 -

WASHINGTON: Oil prices may soar to $200 a bar­rel if the world doesn't move more rapidly to a clean-en­ergy econ­omy, Richard Bran­son, founder of Vir­gin At­lantic Air­ways Ltd., said in an in­ter­view.

"It's cer­tainly con­ceiv­able un­less we can start to con­serve en­ergy quickly and come up with al­ter­na­tive fu­els," Bran­son said yes­ter­day in Can­cun, Mex­ico, where coun­tries are meet­ing to ne­go­ti­ate a new ac­cord to com­bat cli­mate change. Bran­son pre­dicts an "un­be­liev­ably painful" eco­nomic slump if gov­ern­ments don't do more to en­cour­age re­new­able en­ergy as an al­ter­na­tive to fos­sil fu­els such as oil. In the U.S., where ef­forts to cap car­bon-diox­ide emis­sions failed in the Se­nate ear­lier this year, un­em­ploy­ment could reach record highs, the Bri­tish bil­lion­aire said. "We are go­ing to have the mother of all re­ces­sions if we don't sort out our en­ergy pol­icy fast," Bran­son said ear­lier yes­ter­day at the World Cli­mate Sum­mit in Can­cun. "We think we've got it bad to­day. In five years time un­em­ploy­ment could go to 15 per­cent with­out any dif­fi­culty at all in Amer­ica." Bran­son, 60, spoke along­side U.S. bil­lion­aire Ted Turner, founder of Cable News Net­work. Bran­son and Turner, 72, also will speak to­mor­row at the two-day con­fer­ence fo­cused on how busi­nesses can help com­bat cli­mate change. Mean­while, ne­go­tia­tors from about 190 coun­tries are grap­pling with how to pro­ceed in United Na­tions-led treaty talks to cut green­house-gas emis­sions. In­dus­tri­al­ized and de­vel­op­ing na­tions are di­vided over the 1997 Ky­oto Pro­to­col.

Ja­pan, Rus­sia and Canada have re­fused to sign up for a sec­ond round of emis­sions re­duc­tions once the cur­rent ones writ­ten into Ky­oto ex­pire in 2012.

Emerg­ing economies such as China, In­dia and Brazil are "com­pletely unan­i­mous" in their po­si­tion that de­vel­oped coun­tries must agree on a new com­mit­ment pe­riod, UN cli­mate chief Chris­tiana Figueres said yes­ter­day. Dis­cord over Ky­oto threat­ens to take at­ten­tion away from talks for a new global cli­mate agree­ment that in­cludes the U.S., she said. The U.S. is the only de­vel­oped nation not part of Ky­oto. -Bloomberg

WASHINGTON: Bill T. Jones (L), Sir Paul McCart­ney (C), and United States Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton share a light moment as they pre­pare to pose for their for­mal class photo with the other 2010 Kennedy Cen­ter hon­orees. -Ap

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