G20 Leaders Remain Divided Over Syria



ST. PETERSBURG The G20 world leaders failed to find common ground Thursday on the U.S. push for military intervention in Syria in the wake of the chemical attack there. The Syrian conflict was the main topic of the summit’s first day, as President Barack Obama tried to garner international support for strikes in Syria amid Russian opposition.

According to Al Jazeera, Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, left no doubt that Washington had given up trying to work with the UN Security Council. She accused Russia of holding the council hostage, saying there was “no viable path forward.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov called for the international community to take part in an “objective assessment of the situation,” Russia Today reported. He said that an attack on Syria would only be possible after UN investigators have their say about the alleged chemical attack. He added that Russia “cannot accept the proof that, in our view, is not a proof at all, that is far from being convincing.”

On Thursday evening, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stressed that any response to chemical weapon use in Syria must first go through the UN. He said he hoped “that all the leaders of the five permanent Security Council members and some non-permanent members who are now here fully meet their obligations to the Syrian people,” according to Russia Today.

President Obama also faced growing pressure by world leaders concerning the global economy, with fears that a military intervention in Syria would push up oil prices, Reuters reported.

The second day of the summit is expected to focus on investment and job creation, according to the G20 website.

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In Argentina, A Visit To World's Highest Solar Energy Park

With loans and solar panels from China, the massive solar park has been opened a year and is already powering the surrounding areas. Now the Chinese supplier is pushing for an expansion.

960,000 solar panels have been installed at the Cauchari park

Silvia Naishtat

CAUCHARI — Driving across the border with Chile into the northwest Argentine department of Susques, you may spot what looks like a black mass in the distance. Arriving at a 4,000-meter altitude in the municipality of Cauchari, what comes into view instead is an assembly of 960,000 solar panels. It is the world's highest photovoltaic (PV) park, which is also the second biggest solar energy facility in Latin America, after Mexico's Aguascalientes plant.

Spread over 800 hectares in an arid landscape, the Cauchari park has been operating for a year, and has so far turned sunshine into 315 megawatts of electricity, enough to power the local provincial capital of Jujuy through the national grid.

It has also generated some $50 million for the province, which Governor Gerardo Morales has allocated to building 239 schools.

Abundant sunshine, low temperatures

The physicist Martín Albornoz says Cauchari, which means "link to the sun," is exposed to the best solar radiation anywhere. The area has 260 days of sunshine, with no smog and relatively low temperatures, which helps keep the panels in optimal conditions.

Its construction began with a loan of more than $331 million from China's Eximbank, which allowed the purchase of panels made in Shanghai. They arrived in Buenos Aires in 2,500 containers and were later trucked a considerable distance to the site in Cauchari . This was a titanic project that required 1,200 builders and 10-ton cranes, but will save some 780,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year.

It is now run by 60 technicians. Its panels, with a 25-year guarantee, follow the sun's path and are cleaned twice a year. The plant is expected to have a service life of 40 years. Its choice of location was based on power lines traced in the 1990s to export power to Chile, now fed by the park.

Chinese engineers working in an office at the Cauchari park


Chinese want to expand

The plant belongs to the public-sector firm Jemse (Jujuy Energía y Minería), created in 2011 by the province's then governor Eduardo Fellner. Jemse's president, Felipe Albornoz, says that once Chinese credits are repaid in 20 years, Cauchari will earn the province $600 million.

The Argentine Energy ministry must now decide on the park's proposed expansion. The Chinese would pay in $200 million, which will help install 400,000 additional panels and generate enough power for the entire province of Jujuy.

The park's CEO, Guillermo Hoerth, observes that state policies are key to turning Jujuy into a green province. "We must change the production model. The world is rapidly cutting fossil fuel emissions. This is a great opportunity," Hoerth says.

The province's energy chief, Mario Pizarro, says in turn that Susques and three other provincial districts are already self-sufficient with clean energy, and three other districts would soon follow.

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