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Higher prices to slow growth in fossil fuels

The International Energy Agency says high prices for natural gas and supply fears due to the war in Ukraine will slow the growth in demand for fossil fuels in the coming years.

In a report published Tuesday, the Paris-based agency forecast global demand for natural gas will rise by 140 billion cubic meters between 2021 and 2025. That's less than half the increase of 370 bcm seen in the previous five-year period, which included the pandemic downturn.

The revised forecast is mostly due to expectations of slower economic growth rather than buyers switching from gas to coal, oil or renewable energy. While the burning of gas emits less planet-warming carbon dioxide than other fossil fuels, methane released during the extraction process is a significant driver of climate change.

"Russia's unprovoked war in Ukraine is seriously disrupting gas markets that were already showing signs of tightness," said Keisuke Sadamori, the agency's director of energy markets and security.

Efforts by European Union countries to wean themselves off Russian gas will lead to a fall in pipeline exports from Russia to the 27-nation bloc of 55-75%, the IEA said. At the same time the EU's purchases of liquefied natural gas have diverted deliveries intended for other regions, such as Asia, which is predicted to account for half the demand growth by 2025.

 

American Airlines plans to add fights to Cuba

American Airlines wants to resume flying to five cities in Cuba after the Biden administration reversed a Trump-era policy limiting flying to the country.

American already flies to Havana six times daily and has now asked the U.S. Department of Transportation for approval to start flying to Santa Clara, Holguin, Santiago, Varadero and Camagüey beginning in November. Those locations would be served from American's regional hub in Miami, also home to the United States' largest Cuban American community.

"These additional frequencies will enhance service and access between the United States and other cities outside of Havana, as well as offer the best connectivity to Cuba via American's Miami hub," American Airlines spokeswoman Gianna Urgo said in a statement.

The Biden administration opened flying possibilities to Cuba in May as part of a broader plan to expand some relations with Cuba. Relations and trade with Cuba have been the subject of tense political debate between Democrats and Republicans over how to support contact between Cubans living in the United States while isolating the country's communist regime.

 

Poll shows resistance to use of virtual options

A new poll shows that many Americans don't expect to rely on the digital services that became commonplace during the pandemic after COVID-19 subsides.

That's even as many think it's a good thing if those options remain available in the future. The poll comes from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The poll shows that close to half or more of U.S. adults say they are not likely to attend virtual activities, receive virtual health care, have groceries delivered or use curbside pickup after the coronavirus pandemic ends.

Still, close to half of adults also say it would be a good thing if virtual options continue.

 

Australian central bank raises benchmark rates

Australia's central bank has lifted its benchmark interest rate for a third time in three straight months, changing the cash rate to 1.35% from 0.85%.

The Reserve Bank of Australia's half a percentage point rise on Tuesday was the same size as its June increase. When the bank lifted the rate by a quarter percentage point at its monthly board meeting in May, it was the first rate hike in more than 11 years.

Increases at the June and July board meetings were widely expected. Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe said in May it was "not unreasonable" to expect the cash rate to climb to 2.5%.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner

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