tv London Tower Fire BBC News June 21, 2017 3:30am-4:01am BST
election for a congressional seat in the us state of georgia. us media is calling it for the republican candidate, karen handel. it has been a republican seat since 1979 but cuts had hoped to strike a blow against donald trump's residency. —— democrats had hoped. she has a five point lead over the democratic challenger, john soft, with 80% of the votes counted. —— john soft. belgian soldiers have shot a suspected suicide bomber in brussels central station. police said the man was wearing what appeared to be a bomb vest and triggered a small explosion. he was shot by soldiers at the scene. federal prosecutors say he is dead. no one else was injured. the incoming leader of hong kong has told the bbc she cannot guarantee that freedom of speech will protect those who call for independence. carrie lam is the chief executive—elect of the former british colony, which is about to mark twenty years since its handover to china. britain is heading for its longest heatwave since 1995, according to the met office, and it's possible that today could be the hottest
june day since 1976. but there's also a risk of very heavy rain or thunderstorms. extreme weather is also causing problems in other countries, including france, spain and portugal — and our science editor david shukman has been considering the latest evidence on volatile weather conditions. the terrifying sight of one of the most aggressive forest fires that portugal has seen for years. as a heatwave took hold, whole families had been caught in their cars. more than 60 people in all have died, and the fires have advanced with devastating speed. "there was a massive noise", says this survivor, "and then we saw the flames." "we'd never seen anything like it", according to this man. "it all happened in just a few seconds." anybody want a bottle of water? here in britain, the heatwave is far less dangerous,
but it is disruptive, delaying trains as the rails have buckled and forcing speed restrictions to be imposed in many parts of the country. a road in cambridgeshire, damaged as the temperatures have risen and then stayed high day after day. all because of a pattern of weather in which hot air has been flowing towards us from record—breaking conditions in southern europe. the heatwave in britain is not exceptional, but it does come as temperatures on average are rising. the met office says that we're getting more hot days and more hot nights and the warm nights make it hard to sleep and also mean buildings and streets don't cool down. the scientists say we'd better get used to this. the un climate panel says more heatwaves are very likely and a new study, just published, says 48% of the world's population face deadly heatwaves by the end of the century and that's assuming we cut the greenhouse gases warming the climate. in arizona, a heatwave with a surprising impact. at phoenix airport, one of the busiest in the world, some planes are grounded
because the temperature reached 48 degrees celsius and that's too hot for them to fly, and more of this may be on the way. global temperatures are rising, largely due to our emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. that means that our average temperatures in the uk, for example, are also rising. which means that when we get the weather conditions for causing a heatwave, like we're seeing now, it means that heatwave is hotter and we're going to see more of them. with heat warnings across europe, tourists struggle to shelter from the sun in bordeaux, fountains offer some welcome respite. there are of course ways of coping with a heatwave, fans are in huge demand in portugal, but if the scientists are right, scenes like this will $0011 seem normal. david shukman, bbc news. now it's time for talking business. kazakhstan, central asia's largest economy, blessed with natural resources like coal, oil and uranium, but when global oil prices fell, this country's fortunes fell, too.
now, it's looking to renewable energy for its next phase of growth, but how is that going to happen? welcome to talking business, and welcome to the astana expo in kazakhstan. this expo is all about showcasing kazakhstan‘s vision for itself. welcome to talking business, and welcome to the astana expo in kazakhstan. this expo is all about showcasing kazakhstan‘s vision for itself. by 2050, the government wants half of this country's energy needs to come from renewable energy, like wind, water and solar power. the man behind this vision, president nursultan nazarbayev. he has led kazakhstan for more than two decades, the capital astana is his brainchild. this expo is his initiative,
the renewable energy vision is his plan. sure, kazakhstan has lots of wind, water and sunshine, but what it has more than anything else is oil, and coal, so how is that going to square with these plans? the question i put to kazakhstan‘s minister of energy. translation: we've created regulations to attract investors into renewable energy and it is working. the sector is becoming more attractive for foreign investors. we've signed an agreement with one of the biggest wind and solar firms in saudi arabia. and chinese companies, all of them want to work with us. we are negotiating with them. but foreign investors tell us that the legislation is not clear, and they are worried about long—term viability of their business operations because of the volatility in the currency and they are concerned that there are not enough incentives being provided by the government for them to invest. translation: we understand that foreign companies face certain risks
because they will earn their profits in our local currency. which has been volatile. we are trying to take the risks away from them by tying tariffs to the currency. so, if the local currency drops, then tariffs will rise. when we speak to local people they said that as admirable as these renewable energy targets are, how are they going to boost the economy of kazakhstan? because many people feel it is just boosting the image of kazakhstan. not the actual economy. translation: the cost for renewable energy production has fallen by 40—60% and by the year 2020 it will be even cheaper. we're saying within a few years the cost of renewable energy will be close to the cost of electricity which today we can generate from traditional sources.
it will be competitive. there will always be pessimists, and there will be optimists and we will support them. how are you going to look after the people who are employed in old fuel economies like the coal sector and the oil and gas sector, as you make this transition? translation: the transition will happen step—by—step, each year until 2050. within this time we can diversify our production. professions can be changed, lives can be changed. we don't expect it to be easy, we need to change the culture. it's important for our people to understand the benefits of using renewables for the environment. i'm in the energy best practices area. this is where foreign and domestic companies are showcasing their ideas and solutions for innovation in this sector, there's a reason
they are here, the potential in kazakhstan is huge. but what are the realities? joining me now to talk about this is the governor of astana international financial centre. the managing director of energy and natural resources at the ebrd. and the ceo of ge central asia and azerbaijan. thank you forjoining us today. i want to start with you, why the urgency for kazakhstan to get to these renewable energy goals and targets? why is the country doing this? we are known as an oil—rich country and we produce 1.6 million barrels per day and we are going to double it in the next 15—20 years. but the recent events and the dramatic shift in our commodities prices, especially in the oil sector, even with the new technology factors, like shell oil for example, in the united states, from one side.
it gives us ideas that probably the era of high prices for oil is over, from one side. and from the other side, the other disruptive technologies, for example, like new automobile tendencies, like driverless cars, more focus on electric energy. i think that this is a paradigm shift and everyone realises the technology is shifting and changing and disrupting. and in kazakhstan we understand it and we should be preparing very well from one side. and for the other side it was a business model that the country is changing. is that your sense, working here with the ebrd,
there is a desire to move into this direction? absolutely. if i can add, there is a big commitment here under paris to reduce emissions. and while this is an oil producing country, 70% of the electricity system here runs on coal and the power sector which is electricity and heat contributes 80% of the carbon emissions to this country, so if, in tandem with the paradigm shift, it is essential that kazakhstan will have to transition away from coal, and really gas and renewables is the only way that they can do this in a substantial material way. and i think also the sharp decline that we have seen in the cost of renewables recently, in particular solar. kazakhstan adopted in 2013 the green economy transition concept, and between then and now, the prices have dropped almost 80%, so there is also an economic imperative to launch into this next phase. from a corporate perspective, what kind of opportunities are you seeing in kazakhstan,
given there is this push in this direction? the strategy is very well thought through. it is very ambitious, it sounds today very ambitious but this is a very long—term strategy. if we continue to work towards that actively, all the participants, the government, investors, and producers, we can get there, so i see this as realistic. in terms of renewables in the overall development of kazakhstan, i understand that this expo will turn into a massive financial centre once it has been completed, but how much will renewables make up as part of the overall strategy for kazakhstan in the future? first of all it is a change in mind, in the country, the level of central government and local government, and the people of kazakhstan.
so i think the idea of this expo is the future of energy, and from one side this is the message to the external communities that kazakhstan understands and wants to adopt any renewable technologies in kazakhstan, and be the place for this in central asia. but also to say to the people of kazakhstan, a new way of thinking, about how to use the energy and how to think about the future energy. and our strategy until 2050, renewable energy reach should be 50%, which is a very ambitious goal. but i think this is the way which we will start from now. we would like to use this opportunity in terms of this expo to create a legacy. and the legacy of expo will notjust be the physical infrastructure, but kind of the new understanding and new perception of kazakhstan in terms of the development of green technologies. from your experience of overseeing these projects in kazakhstan,
do you get the sense that these targets are achievable? absolutely. they are achievable, but as he said very correctly, this will need a coalition of interests, public and private. we really need the policymakers in kazakhstan to set the framework that will make these projects viable. credible. we need the investors. and to be honest i think the expo has been fantastic in that regard, just between breakfast and here, i ran into three different investors that i would not have expected to see in kazakhstan. and it is very clear that this is going to be a message to the internal policymakers, time to get the act together, to put the frame work together, and also the external investing community to say that kazakhstan is open for business, and for people like ourselves, this is music to our ears. this project will be doable if you have a real kind of financial
institution to implement it. talking about green credits, emission trading system, these ingredients will be part of the new green financial system in kazakhstan which will allow us to bring global and regional investors. looking into kazakhstan, what is your sense of what else needs to be done? we did our share in the form of legislation, as much as we can. and consulted the government. it is very important, what was said, because this strategy is more of a vision. the vision doesn't need to have all the steps. what has been done in the last three years, in some cases it seemed to be for investors, and for us as producers, slow, it's a much longer term game which we are in. what i would say, we have a clear vision for the 3%, that is doable and that, with all of these things coming together finally, i think we will get
to the finish line. that is a good point. we will get back to our discussion but now i want to show you some of the challenges that we have seen with trying to get to the renewable energies vision here in kazakhstan. this is a report from outside of astana. this is what kazakhstan says it wants power generation to look like. massive wind turbines, rotating above the central asian steppes, powering homes and offices and schools. listen to this, that is the sound of wind going at 60 kilometres per hour and that is not even at full speed. i'm not even sure i can keep standing, i'm worried about being blown away. but this wind is one of the key reasons why kazakhstan is so well suited for renewable energy. this wind farm is the first
of its kind in the country, run by state—owned firms, and right now renewables make up less than 1% of kazakhstan‘s energy production, and there is room for growth, but it's unlikely to come from local companies. the main problem for the renewable energy equipment is it's from foreign countries, from germany and china. we cannot buy much of them because of the financial crisis, but foreign investors can bring this equipment. and that is what the astana expo is for, the grand show that kazakhstan has put on for foreign investments. but that doesn't mean they find it any easier as i found out from california—based primus power which builds energy storage solutions. the local currency devalued in 2016 more than 65% which gives very negative effect on renewable projects because all the equipment, even small bolts, are imported, and when the investor comes,
there is too much uncertainty. the government did not set up proper rules. this is where you live? it is notjust investors. many locals also feel the strategy is not well thought out but few dare to speak out. this is where they sentenced you to three years of no public speaking and not being able to organise a protest? this lawyer and activist tells me it is all a show. translation: they've built a few power pla nts for asta na but why not everywhere? and why not cheaper so that people can actually use it? but none of this is changing everyday life, 80% of kazakhstan still uses coal because it is cheap, and until there is a clear road map, kazakhstan‘s lofty vision may
remain out of reach. so, as you have seen, there is still perhaps a long way to go before kazakhstan fully realises some of these ambitious goals and the vision it has set for itself. to discuss the challenges we can get back to our panel. i'd like to pick up with you again, in some of our travels across the country, we have consistently heard from foreign and domestic companies, looking to invest in the renewable energy sector, that it is a very noble goal but it is still very difficult on the ground. one of the things they pointed out, the volatility in the currency makes it very difficult for businesses to have a firm plan about how they go about doing this.
they want to do it but it is very challenging. what would you say to foreign and domestic companies who are keen to invest? kazakhstan is very well—prepared to absorb any external shocks and we have created a national fund which consists from the oil revenues produced in kazakhstan, from one side, and we have over $62 billion. the exchange rate policy, we have consistent monetary policy and we moved to the restructural forms and that means a change in mind and in legislation, and we moved to english common laws for example. from the other side, a lot of privileges and tax exemptions for renewable energy, and all of these key ingredients will help really so the investment is made commercially viable. is the short—term pain worth the long—term viability?
is it viable? absolutely, we have learned lessons from the short—term pain, one of them is the challenges of foreign exchange risk and the devaluation of the currency which was the right way in light of the structural reforms which were just described. it caught some of our projects quite unawares and with some costs. the foreign exchange risk is a very valid one, especially when you have foreign investors coming in, investing in a product which is really a local revenue. there are a few ways to solve this issue, and this is not unique to kazakhstan, we have seen this in many other countries. one of the ways is indexation, and i think the government is ready, especially if they move to a competitive auction process, for the next renewable projects, where they feel comfortable that they are getting the best possible market price. and that they will be
more open to indexing, say, the dollar. there is also reshaping the local capital markets, this is something we are focused on. we want to do more lending and we believe that projects that are generating local currency and local revenues should be financed with local currency and this is another area we are focusing on here. it is expensive, in terms of the tariffs in wind power compared to fossil fuel power, it's far cheaper to consistently get your power and electricity from fossil fuels. you can see the hesitation. the economy is very energy intensive, the goods produced here need electricity, and it is very cheap today, so you can't compete with the electricity centre and coal— based things, with wind—based production. it is a very difficult equation to convince the investors in that
environment but this is going to be, as we said, going in two directions, from one side, gradually, the tariffs will be going. we have no other choice. to make sure that it fits the economy and the challenges of the economy. and at the same time, the other side, as producers we are doing everything to make it cheaper. it should notjust be like a financial comparison to say this is cheap and this is more expensive. everyone realises that it will be kind of a global requirement, to any industrial production. if you produce it with a not very green technology, you will be punished anyway from one side, that is unavoidable. it should be done like this. on the other side, let's see inside of kazakhstan.
if we are still using not very environmentally friendly technology it means a cost to the social inclusion and to the different diseases and the problems of health scares and if you can collate everything then we will see that it is really costly. 75% of the economy is based on fossil fuels and people are worried about losing jobs in the coal sector. they hear this vision that is coming from a top—down approach, and they are wondering what does this actually mean for them and their livelihood. that is what i'm trying to get from you, to understand, how do you manage the expectations of the local people and make sure that the vision actually benefits everyone? that is why we are talking about this commitment for the long—term. we can't do it overnight. in the first phase, definitely, we have to use our competitive advantage.
we have a high carbon energy here and we can use nuclear energy and we can use the clean tech. with the coal industry, we have new destructive clean technology and we are going to use it. new energy is new opportunities, there will be opportunities for newjobs. different kinds of jobs, but there will be opportunities forjobs and what is important, the government is focused on vocational training and skills development, these economic inclusion actions which need to be taken. i think kazakhstan is very progressive in that way, one of the few countries that we know amongst our countries that has adopted a gender action plan, which has a very large component of skills development, access ofjobs for women. i'm confident that kazakhstan will be able to make the transition. what else do you think companies need to see from the government, policymakers, to help make this vision a reality?
we need to have the guarantees, the long—term financing in place, to achieve that goal, that is obvious for everyone. the most important thing is that people who understand what they are doing in the government. and it was mentioned at the beginning that this is a well thought strategy. the fact it goes in an evolutionary way, notjumping through certain stages, it takes longer, but we will get there. 21st—century is about efficiency. it is not about selling more things into kazakhstan. if kazakhstan has reserves technically speaking, they do not need extra capacity for a short—term or mid—term future, but at the same time there are ways to improve the efficiency of existing assets. thanks forjoining us.
that's it for me. we are leaving you with shots of the astana expo. enjoy. todayis today is the real start of summer with the temperature around 19 or 20 degrees across the south—western corner. the temperatures are set to rocket as the sun comes through. it is not the story of the day across the entire aisles, we may see
violent thunderstorms rolling in across the north of wales, the scottish borders in the north of england. in the south—east, somebody somewhere could see 33 or 3a degrees. a crop of thunderstorms will roll off into the north sea. cooler air waiting to come in from the atlantic and does we put that into the mix of heat, it could be that thursday sees violent storms. a lot of rain quickly, gusty wind. hail in the mix as well. as it moves away again into the north sea we see the arrival of fresh conditions except perhaps in east anglia and the south—east where the temperature will still be above par for this time of year. welcome to bbc news — broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: georgia's republican candidate karen handel wins a congressional election in what's seen as a referendum on donald trump. belgian soldiers shoot dead a suspected suicide bomber