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One Sentence News / Sept 22, 2021

Colin Wright
Colin Wright
The news simply summarized / September 22, 2021

Summary: Through its leader Xi Jinping’s talk at the United Nations General Assembly, the Chinese government has announced that it will not build any new coal-fired power plants abroad, which will substantially reduce the number of such plants in existence.
Context: China is by far the largest polluter in the world, in large part because of their own use of coal for power, but they’re also the largest funder of new coal power plants globally; depending on when this pledge goes into effect, this could cancel up to 47 planned power plants in 20 developing countries (with funding instead going to renewable energy infrastructure projects), while also denying funding to essentially all such plants in the future, globally (this is being seen as a very big deal because China has been the only significant funder of coal power plants for years).
—Reuters
Summary: The petroleum company Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to sell its Permian basin assets (located in the most active oil field in the US, straddling Texas and New Mexico) to ConocoPhillips—another petroleum company—for about $9.5 billion.
Context: Oil production in the Permian basin region is almost back up to where it was, pre-pandemic, and a decent-sized portion of that area, which produces around 175,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (that’s oil and natural gas), along with the infrastructure required to pump and ship it (and many of the employees currently working it) will be transferred to a company looking to acquire new fossil fuel assets from a company looking to divest of fossil fuel assets (to free up resources to invest in renewables, and to quickly reduce their carbon-footprint, as the emissions from these wells will no longer go on their docket and there’s increasing pressure from investors to do so).
—The Wall Street Journal
Summary: The drug company Pfizer, maker of one of the first mRNA-based vaccines for COVID-19, has announced that a lower dose of their vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective in kids as young as 5-years-old.
Context: This announcement arrives in the wake of weeks of data showing that children are more likely to catch the Delta variant of COVID than they were other variants, and this has resulted in much higher hospitalization and death numbers in kids in the US in particular; that said, polls have indicated that parents are more hesitant to have their kids get these vaccines than they were to get vaccinated themselves, so the certification process on this could be tumultuous, as could the potential, eventual rollout.
—The Associated Press
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a snap election that he hoped would allow him to increase his party’s sway in parliament; this turned out not to be the case, and though Trudeau will continue as Prime Minister for a third term, his party (the Liberals) only gained one seat, putting them at 158—short of the 170 they need for a majority.
Amount of frozen fish bound for the US, in pounds (not quite 11.8 million kilograms) that is stuck in freezers at the Canadian port in Bayside, New Brunswick.
This fish (mostly wild Alaska pollock) is being held up because the companies importing it have been accused of dodging a centuries-old law requiring cargo shipped between US end-points (in this case, Alaska to Maine) use US-built (and flagged) vessels, unless they use Canadian trains.
This particular stockpile of fish starts in the US (Alaska) and ends in the US (Maine), but in New Brunswick is unloaded, put on a Canadian train, rolled 100 feet (just over 30 meters) forward and back, and then driven across a border.
The company behind this rule-avoiding approach, American Seafoods, has argued that there’s no other efficient way to adhere to the law while also getting enough fish to US markets, but the government began levying fines (about $350 million so far) on companies using this approach in August, so there’s a chance the regional frozen-fish shortage sparked by this holdup will persist until another route can be established.
—The Wall Street Journal
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Colin Wright
Colin Wright @colinismyname

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