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How cable-car systems are revolutionizing public transport in La Paz

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Located almost 12,000 feet above sea level, the Bolivian city of La Paz is a bustling place where the air is thin and the scenery dramatic.

Its Mi Teleferico – which literally translates as “my cable car” – transit system was launched in 2014. It soars above city streets and buildings to transport thousands of people to and from their homes, offices and everything else in between.

“Every day more than 230,000 people are … transported through this cable transportation system,” Cesar Dockweiler, the CEO of Mi Teleferico, told CNBC’s “Sustainable Energy.”

“We have managed to transport more than 150 million people in less than four years,” he added. “It is a transport system that has really transformed people’s lives.”

Mi Teleferico is not the only cable car system in Latin America. The Colombian city of Medellin opened its Metrocable system in 2004, for example.

Apart from the fact that a cable car’s route is both picturesque and uninterrupted, there are other benefits to using one.

The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, part of University College London, has stated that the “speed and comparatively low cost of construction, and low levels of particulate emissions of aerial cable-cars, are part of their appeal in dense and hilly urban areas.”

Back in La Paz, those involved with Mi Teleferico are keen to emphasize its sustainability credentials.

“The system is friendly to the environment because it does not use fossil fuels,” Miguel Arenas, Mi Teleferico’s maintenance manager, said.

“It uses electric power for its main drive, so this source is cleaner and doesn’t emit any kind of fossil pollutant or carbon dioxide,” Arenas added.

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China emits illegal greenhouse gas that destroys ozone layer: Study

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Factories in China’s Shandong province.

Zhang Peng | LightRocket | Getty Images

There has been a rise in the emission of an illegal greenhouse gas that destroys the earth’s ozone layer — and China is responsible for “a substantial fraction” of that increase, according to a new study.

The research published on Wednesday found that China accounted for 40% to 60% of the global increase in trichlorofluoromethane, or CFC-11, emissions between 2014 and 2017. Emissions of the gas came primarily from the Chinese northeastern provinces of Shandong and Hebei, according to the study.

Scientists who conducted the study came from the University of Bristol in the U.K., Kyungpook National University in South Korea, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S. Their research built on earlier studies about the spike in CFC-11 emissions into the atmosphere after 2013 by giving details on the geographic origins of those increases.

The latest study also confirmed media and activist reports that China could be behind the emissions.

“Several considerations suggest that the increase in CFC-11 emissions from eastern mainland China is likely to be the result of new production and use, which is inconsistent with the Montreal Protocol agreement to phase out global chlorofluorocarbon production by 2010,” the scientists wrote in the abstract of the study.

The Montreal Protocol is an agreement signed by all 197 member states of the United Nations — including China — to regulate the production and consumption of chemicals that harm earth’s protective layer. The treaty has led to “a significant reduction” in harmful gases such as CFC-11, which then allowed the damaged ozone layer to heal, according to a report by Canadian newspaper National Post.

Last year, a report by The New York Times found that Chinese factories had ignored the global ban on CFC-11 under the Montreal Protocol. They had continued to make and use the chemical because it’s a cheaper material to produce foam insulation for refrigerators and buildings.

Non-governmental activist group Environmental Investigation Agency reported last year similar findings as the Times based on its own research. The group said Chinese authorities started to crack down on the illegal production and use of CFC-11.

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India Lok Sabha elections results

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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Tolga Akmen | AFP | Getty Images

India’s massive elections concluded this week. The counting of votes began at 8 a.m. local time today and final results are expected thereafter.

According to the Election Commission of India’s website, the BJP was leading.

More than 900 million people were eligible to vote in the polls that stretched over seven phases from April 11 to May 19. A record number of people had turned up to cast their ballot and voter participation was more than 67%, the Election Commission said, making it the largest-ever democratic exercise.

Exit polls have predicted a clear majority for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition, the National Democratic Alliance. According to local media, it is expected to win nearly, or above, 300 seats in India’s lower house of parliament, or Lok Sabha as it is known. Out of a total of 545 seats in parliament, 543 were being contested and a party, or a coalition, needs at least 272 votes to form a government.

How Modi and the BJP fare at the polls will factor into his policy priorities. If he comes back with a bigger mandate than what he had in the 2014 elections, it would be seen as an endorsement of his national security-focused campaign, according to Eurasia Group’s South Asia analyst, Akhil Bery. That, he added, would likely affect Modi’s foreign policy toward India’s arch rival Pakistan.

Earlier this year, BJP’s efforts to return to power looked to be on shaky grounds, especially after the party lost three key state elections in December. People across India have had mixed reactions to some of Modi’s landmark economic reforms and policies. They include the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax and demonetization — where the government unexpectedly withdrew all its 500 and 1,000-rupee notes, and replaced them with 500 and 2,000-rupee denomination currencies.

Then, a terrorist attack in Kashmir, and India’s subsequent response to it, shifted the momentum in Modi’s favor.

“That reinvigorated the campaign and took the attention away from, quite frankly, the not-so-great economic record,” Bery told CNBC’s “Squawk Box ” on Thursday.

“You had a slowing economy and also the leaked jobs report, which showed that India’s unemployment rate was at a 45-year high. By shifting to national security, Prime Minister Modi was able to take attention away from those negative stories, ” he added.

Still, Modi’s government will likely have its work cut out: India’s economy is slowing down, its shadow banking sector is in crisis, credit lending from banks is still relatively weak. More needs to be done to spur private investments so that the country doesn’t only rely on consumption to grow, according to analysts.

The Nifty 50 was up 1.39% in early trade. 

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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Our own operating system could be ready this year

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A view of Huawei phones, seen in the shopping street in the Old Town of Amman on Jan. 30, 2019.

Artur Widak | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Huawei could have its own operating system for smartphones and laptops ready for use in China by fall this year, the head of the company’s consumer division told CNBC.

Still, he stressed that would only happen if the company were completely stopped from using Google’s and Microsoft’s software.

The Chinese technology giant was placed on a U.S. blacklist that required American firms to get permission from the government before selling anything to Huawei. That meant Huawei would no longer be able to license the version of Google’s Android operating system that’s complete with all of the U.S. firm’s services.

However, Washington granted a temporary 90-day reprieve for Huawei, which will allow it to continue using American technology — for now.

Huawei has said in the past that it has its own operating system waiting in the wings if it were to be permanently blocked from Google and Microsoft software. Now, one of the company’s top executives has told CNBC that the operating system could be ready by the fourth quarter of this year, with a version for its markets outside of China available in either the first or second quarter of 2020.

“Today, Huawei, we are still committed to Microsoft Windows and Google Android. But if we cannot use that, Huawei will prepare the plan B to use our own OS,” Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s consumer business, told CNBC on Thursday.

If Huawei isn’t allowed to use Android, it could be damaging because the phones won’t have the Google Play Store where consumers can download apps. Instead, users would need to find other ways to install their favorite applications.

However, Yu said Huawei’s own app store, known as the App Gallery, would be available on its own operating system. The App Gallery is installed on Huawei’s devices currently, but Google’s Play Store is often the default app store for consumers.

The Huawei executive stressed that Huawei’s own operating system would only be rolled out if the company were permanently blocked from using Google or Microsoft products.

“We don’t want to do this but we will forced to do that because of the U.S. government. I think the U.S., this kind of thing, will also not only be bad news for us, but also bad news for the U.S. companies because we support the U.S. business, so we will be forced to do this on our own,” Yu said. “We don’t want to do this but we have no other solution, no other choice.”

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