Return to Transcripts main page

Quest Means Business

Huawei CFO Reaches Deal With U.S. Return To China; Biden Hosts The Quad To Discuss China's Influence In Asia; Nike Warns Of Supply Chain Issues Until Next Spring. Pfizer COVID Booster Shot Approved For 65+, Others; London Community Holds Vigil For Sabina Nessa; China Central Bank Vows To Severely Crackdown On Crypto Use. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired September 24, 2021 - 15:00:00   ET




ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS HOST: It's a muted end to a wild week for U.S. markets. The Dow relatively flat, ending the week higher though after it

managed to claw back from some steep losses on Monday. Those are the markets and these are the main events.

Huawei CFO reaches a deal with the U.S. to enter long running extradition trial.

Biden welcomes leaders from Japan, India, and Australia to the White House as he seeks to counter China's growing influence.

And as more companies say, chip shortages are weighing on their bottom line, the U.S. Commerce Secretary tells CNN, the problem could be here to


Live from New York, it is Friday, September 24th. I'm Alison Kosik in for Richard Quest, and this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

Good evening, tonight, one step forward one step back for U.S.-China relations as Joe Biden meets with Asian Pacific allies to try and blunt

Beijing's influence in the region.

U.S. prosecutors say they've struck a deal with Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, it would allow her to go back to China, ending a three-year legal

saga that has kept her under house arrest in Canada. Meng is the company's Chief Financial Officer and the daughter of its founder. She was detained

in Vancouver on behalf of the United States back in 2018.

The Trump administration accused her of bank fraud and trying to evade Iranian sanctions. Both Meng and her company say the charges were

politically motivated, part of Trump's trade war and attacks on the Chinese telecom.

Paula Newton is live for us in Ottawa, Canada. Paula, what more are you learning?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the court case just wrapped up, the court proceeding, I should say just wrapped in New York and indeed Meng

Wanzhou has struck a deal with U.S. prosecutors. Now, it is what we call a deferred prosecution agreement. What does that mean?

It means that the charges were read out in court, she pleaded not guilty, but then by definition of this deal. It means that the U.S. Justice

Department agrees not to proceed with any of those charges if she agrees to a statement of wrongdoing. She said she agrees to the statement of one

wrongdoing, and what is interesting here is we still don't have it in our hands.

We do understand though that in some way, shape, or form, this statement of facts will perhaps be a blow to Huawei itself. We are still waiting to see

this. What does this mean for Meng Wanzhou personally, it means --

KOSIK: All right, we are having some technical difficulty there, let's go ahead and move on and we'll go back to Paula if we get the signal back.

All right, let's move on for now. As one Trump era spat with Beijing comes to a close, Joe Biden is plowing ahead with his own strategy to deal with

China. The leaders of India, Australia, and Japan are at the White House for the first meeting of the quad.

This informal alliance is designed to push back against China's influence. Beijing has criticized the meeting for representing a Cold War mentality.

Will Ripley is live for us in Taiwan. Great to see you Will. So what is -- what's China's reaction here to the quad meeting? Do you know if China was

even mentioned?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, even if they're not mentioning China publicly, behind closed doors, countering China's rising

influence both economically and militarily is a huge focus of the quad according to diplomatic sources.

Australia, Japan, and India all have a stake in this region and all have worked together in the past, both militarily and economically in terms of

forging trade alliances, ensuring a technology and innovation in the supply chain, and keeping smaller countries and islands like Taiwan safe from what

some perceive in the West as bullying by Beijing of nations that don't fall in line.

So this quad meeting as well as the AUKUS trilateral military alliance between Australia, the, U.K., and the U.S., which will supply nuclear-

powered submarines to Australia is all part of a concerted effort by the United States and the West at large to maintain the Indo Pacific balance

that's been in place since the end of World War II.

Now, you mentioned China talking about a Cold War mentality, they have been building a narrative for months that the United States is really the

aggressor here. That the U.S. is trying not to counter, but to contain China, which has stated its clear intention to be the superpower in the

Indo Pacific region and they have a lot of economic and military firepower behind them.


RIPLEY: There have been just in the last two days, three air incursions of large numbers of Chinese warplanes, fighter jets, nuclear capable bombers

entering the self -declared Air Defense Identification Zone of Taiwan. You have China and the United States in the South China Sea conducting these

patrols through international waters that are, you know, claimed by China and other countries, these so-called Freedom of Navigation Patrols as the

United States calls them.

You have China conducting vaccine diplomacy, donating millions of doses to countries, offering billions of dollars in investment deals in exchange

for, you know, a favorable diplomatic relations with China.

And so from the U.S. perspective, they are trying to work together with their close allies, democracies, particularly in the region, to find ways

to manage what is a fast growing and fast becoming more powerful, influence by Beijing and its autocratic President, Xi Jinping.

KOSIK: Do you know specifically what came out of today's quad meeting?

RIPLEY: That hasn't been publicly announced yet, in terms of what the discussions were. Again, publicly, they're very careful, Alison, not to

mention. China, specifically by name, they actually go out of their way to say this is not about China. But behind closed doors, sources do say that

China is of course, the main topic of conversation.

And there are a lot of issues, shared issues, that the quad nations of the U.S., India, Japan, and Australia have to talk about. Yes, China is one of

them, but also COVID-19, vaccines, climate change, technology and innovation, and protecting the integrity of the supply chain,

semiconductors, which of course, is a huge issue centered right here on the island of Taiwan, which is home to TSMC, the world's leading semiconductor

manufacturer, which powers everything from our phones, to our automobiles, to our laptops.

So there are a number of key issues on the agenda, and perhaps in the coming hours, we'll get more of a readout as to what was discussed. But

make no mistake, the main headline here is a discussion about how to contain and to counter, how to counter China's rising assertiveness in a

region, as Beijing takes similar steps to try to show its own influence and muscle in this part of the world.

And you see a really concerted focus by the United States, Alison, on the Indo Pacific region, shifting in many ways focus away from traditional

allies like Europe and trying to now forge these new alliances, these new partnerships that are getting a lot of attention. India, one particularly

important player in all of this as a major economy in the region and a major force that the United States wants to work closely together with and

of course, also the same is true with Japan and Australia.

KOSIK: Very quickly before you go, I want to see if you've heard of any reaction from China involving the new developments over Huawei's CFO.

RIPLEY: Nothing on the record as of yet. It is just after three o'clock in the morning here, but certainly if Meng Wanzhou is allowed to walk free and

potentially return home to China as soon as possible, this would be a very welcome development, which has been calling for Meng Wanzhou's release from

house arrest in Canada ever since she was detained back in 2018.

Also, there are questions of what will happen to two Michaels, these two Canadians, a former diplomat and a businessman who were detained and

charged with espionage; one, already serving an 11-year sentence, the other waiting to be sentenced, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor's fate, family

members are hoping may now change, they may not be incarcerated in China for all of these many years to come as a result of Meng Wanzhou's plea


But of course, there is no indication from Beijing that this will change the fate of those two detained Canadians, because they've insisted all

along that even though it is widely seen as a retaliatory effort against Canada for holding Meng Wanzhou under house arrest, China said there is no

link between the cases, a lot of outside observers, of course, question that claim.

KOSIK: Okay, Will Ripley, thanks very much, and let's get back to Paula Newton who is live for us from Ottawa. We did get your signal back here.

Does this not guilty plea mean that Meng Wanzhou can go ahead and just get on a plane and go back to China today?

NEWTON: Yes, so to be clear, she didn't enter a guilty plea at all. She actually entered a plea of not guilty, it is what they call a deferred

prosecution agreement. And for that reason, it means that she will not be prosecuted by the United States until right now, the date would be December

2022, if she agrees to the statement of facts.

And I have to tell you, Alison, at this point in time, all the devil is in the detail of statement of facts and we are still waiting for that

document. It does mean though that she is being released on her own recognizance. She will appear as I said in a couple of hours in a Vancouver



NEWTON: At that point in time, it is expected that the U.S. will drop its extradition request and it means she is a free woman.

I am still waiting, though to see more details as to whether or not she will remain in Canada, that's unlikely. It seems that she would be able to

return to China. And as Will just spelled out there, Alison, given the fact that the Biden administration had said that these two Michaels that Joe

Biden would treat these two Michaels as if they were U.S. citizens, it would mean in fact that this would take off the table, which was what was

yet another irritants in the U.S.-China relationship, not just with Canada.

Again, Will did point out that this does not mean that the two Michaels will be automatically released. In fact, it could mean that they're still

held for several months, if not longer.

The family members of the two Michaels are being very tentative about this. They want to wait to see what the deal in fact says and they're trying not

to get their hopes up because they do understand that as Will said, these are two separate cases as far as the Chinese government is concerned.

KOSIK: Okay, Paula Newton, thanks so much for all your reporting.

And the holiday season is just around the corner, the U.S. Commerce Secretary is sounding the alarm about shortages now.


KOSIK: Nike says consumer demand has never been higher, but supply is tight. Nike shares are down more than six percent as the company cut its

full year sales outlook. Nike says it is dealing with supply chain issues, labor shortages and local lockdowns. It is warning that all of those

problems are related to the pandemic and will affect production and deliveries through the holiday season and even into next spring.

The U.S. Commerce Secretary is warning that a computer chip shortage will also hit holiday shopping. The COVID pandemic, the U.S.-China trade, war,

and even extreme weather have all contributed to the problem. The shortage affects the production of everything from automobiles to smartphones.

Commerce Secretary, Gina Raimondo told Matt Egan this shortage is also the result of disinvestment. The U.S. used to be a leading global manufacturer

of microchips.

Matt Egan joins us live now. You know, I'm hearing that the Biden administration is considering invoking that Cold War era national security

law, the Defense Production Act just to address the chip shortage that we're in.


MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Yes, that's right, Alison. You know, in the long run, the Biden administration wants to boost domestic manufacturing of

chips, but that's going to take some time. They also have legislation that has to get through the House of Representatives.

And so in the meantime, they're trying to compel the industry to share more information, and the goal is to try to find some of these bottlenecks

before they actually happen. And so, the Commerce Department has asked these companies to voluntarily submit more information, but Commerce

Secretary Raimondo, she said to me, that for now, they are going to quote, "ask nicely," but if they don't comply, they're going to have to try to

compel them by invoking the Cold War era, Defense Production Act.

And you know, I think the other thing to remember here is just how critical computer chips are. Everything from you know, cars, and coffee makers to

Peloton machines, everything that has an on-off switch relies on computer chips.

And we know that car prices have gone up. New cars, used cars, auto companies have slashed their production. I was at a dealership in New

Jersey, and normally, they have 300 new cars, in the lot today, they only have 12.

And so I asked Secretary Raimondo, how long she expects this computer chip shortage to last. Here's what she said.


GINA RAIMONDO, U.S. COMMERCE SECRETARY: I think we're in this for a while. I believe our efforts are already making a difference. Things are a little

bit better than they were. So I think we will start to see incremental improvements over the next six to 12 months.

Honestly, though, I think we're going to be struggling with it well into next year, until we can really smooth out some of these bottlenecks. It's

not going to be this bad, but I think it won't be back to quote-unquote, "normal" for you know, well into 2022.


EGAN: Well into 2022. Now, Intel CEO has said that these shortages could last until 2023, and Secretary Raimondo, she can see that that's possible,


Alison, that is not good news for a world economy that's already struggling with shortages and price hikes.

KOSIK: Yes, it's something that unfortunately, we're beginning to get used to, I think. I'll tell you what, this has been a big week for the Biden

administration, you know, trying to get its infrastructure bill through Congress. What did the Commerce Secretary have to say about that?

EGAN: Well, what's so interesting is that we heard this week from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that very influential business group, for the first

time put out paid advertising around the President's $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan, and the Chamber of Commerce went on the attack. They

argued that the tax hikes to pay for the new spending around clean energy and childcare and worker retraining, that those tax hikes are going to be

really bad for the economy.

Now, I asked Secretary Raimondo how that made her feel when she heard these attacks, because remember, she is really the top emissary for the White

House to the business community. She actually has more business experience than anyone else in the Biden cabinet. Here's what she had to say.


RAIMONDO: I was very disappointed in that it's not productive, it's not helpful. What they should be doing is coming to the table, talking to us,

and telling us what they can live with.

I talk to businesses every single day. I make it a point, as you say, I have a lot of business experience myself, and I make it a point to talk to

CEOs every day. And when I talk to them, I ask them, you know, what do you need? What would help you to go out and be more productive? And they tell

me better infrastructure, broadband for all Americans, worker training. Every business is struggling to find workers with the skills they need.

So, the President puts forward a package which invests in infrastructure, broadband, apprenticeships, worker training. This is good for business. I

understand they have issues with the tax increases. That's very fair.

So come to the table, and help be part of the solution. There's a lot in this package, which is very good for American business and American

workers. And it's bad -- it will be very bad for our economy, if we don't get it done. And so what I would say to them is, the President is showing

leadership, he showed a plan, he has said he is willing to compromise.

So get in here and let's do the hard work of compromise to get something done for the American people.


EGAN: Now, the Chamber of Commerce ad campaign is clearly aimed at making moderate Democrats think twice before voting in favor of tax hikes. Alison,

the question is whether or not this campaign is effective enough to shrink or perhaps even kill the President's signature legislation.


KOSIK: Well, let me go ahead and ask them from my next guest. Matt, thanks very much. I'm going to bring in Myron Brilliant. He is the Executive Vice

President and Head of International Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He joins me live. Great to see you.


KOSIK: So I'm guessing that you heard Secretary Raimondo's reaction to your campaign. What's your response to her response?

BRILLIANT: Well, first off, we've worked very closely with the Secretary, and we continue to work very closely with the U.S. government to make sure

that we get this infrastructure package done, and we're going to continue to put our emphasis behind that, and we've been very supportive of the


We don't always agree with them, and we don't agree with this package that they're putting forward, the $3.5 trillion package. We think the mixture of

taxes and the big package could be an encompassing issue for our economy at a time when there's already high inflation, there's economic uncertainty,

the global pandemic is still with us. We're fighting challenges around climate.

This is not the time for a tax hike, and I think we've been very clear on that position.

KOSIK: So she was actually pretty clear on, come on, come to the table. Be part of the solution, she said. Tell us what you can work with. So go ahead

and tell us what can you work with out of that bill?

BRILLIANT: Well, Alison, I mean, we're here today to tell you that you're very supportive of a number of the initiatives the administration has put

forward. We've been working with them on how to ensure we have an appropriate U.S. leadership around the global pandemic. We put a taskforce

together of leading CEOs so that we could work in coordination with our government to make sure that vaccines are getting around the world, that

the United States has a leadership position.

We're at the table on the climate talks. We've hosted Secretary Kerry and many others in the administration to talk about how we can work together

with Europe and others to make sure something comes out of COP 26. We'll be there present, and engage with the administration.

We're working to encourage a more forthcoming trade policy. We want to make sure that America is leading in advocating for open markets around the

world, a position we have historically had in raising standards and improving the lives of people around the world and we want to engage the

administration and we are engaged with them.

There are many areas that we are engaged with the administration very effectively. We have some differences on this big $3.5 trillion package.

But even there, we said there are areas that we're willing to work with.

So I think we are very clear on the record on that.

KOSIK: Do you feel like they're going to bend?

BRILLIANT: Do I feel that there's what?

KOSIK: That lawmakers will bend in your direction? You've launched some really expensive and aggressive TV ads this week, are those making a dent?

BRILLIANT: Well, I think there are a number of lawmakers asking their own questions. A number of senators have been very clear that they're

uncomfortable. Democrats who stepped up and said, we're uncomfortable with the size of the package.

So I think there is a lot of uncertainty within the Democratic Caucus, particularly in the Senate, but even in the House, and we're going to work

to make sure that something is done that is effective for our country at a time where competitiveness is a challenge and where we have a lot of work

to do to make sure we get out of this pandemic, with strong health, with strong resiliency. That's why the work around supply chains is so critical.

Again, another area that we want to work with the administration closely on.

KOSIK: Okay, switching gears here. You wrote an op-ed about the quad meeting, which we discussed earlier in the show, what are your hopes for

the meeting and the agenda moving forward?

BRILLIANT: Well, the meeting is wrapping up today. It is going on as we speak. Look, I think it has been always an informal group of countries that

are democracies that have shared values and interests. But now it needs to become more formal, there needs to be more concrete steps taken not just in

the security space, but in the economic space.

So we applaud the effort of the Biden administration to work on issues like cybersecurity, certainly on global pandemic relief and the coordination

among these four countries with the rest of the world, and certainly, in areas like climate and supply chain.

So this work that's going on today is important, but it's also important that it leads to concrete steps. So, one of the areas for example, in the

supply chain, we need to make sure that we're thinking strategically about rare earth minerals, right? And more broadly, minerals that are needed in

our electric batteries that go into our electric vehicles.

So we need to think about how we increase production and work with Japan and work with Australia and work with India. That's just one example.

Where I think the quad agreement or discussions today need to go further is around the digital agenda where we think we should have a cohesive plan

around digitalization of the economies and how we improve standards and best practices, and certainly in the trade area. There's not enough talk

today about trade and in each of these cases, I think we could do more.


BRILLIANT: So we're going to continue to push for these countries to coordinate policies in these important buckets, but we're going to also of

course, tend to go further in the economic arena.

KOSIK: Okay, Myron Brilliant with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, great conversation. Thank you.

BRILLIANT: Thank you.

KOSIK: China escalates its crypto crackdown, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were deemed totally illegal by the Chinese Central Bank.

We will break down the latest moves, next.


KOSIK: Hello, I'm Alison Kosik. There is more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment when we'll discuss why China's latest crackdown on cryptocurrencies

is sending shivers through the crypto market.

And after 16 years, Germany faces a future without Angela Merkel, we will look back at her legacy.

Before that, the headlines this hour.

A makeshift migrant camp under a bridge at the U.S.-Mexico border is clear. The last buses carrying migrants departed a few hours ago headed for

Customs and Border Protection processing centers.

At one point as many as 14,000 migrants mostly from Haiti were living here in squalid conditions.

A troubling message from an Imam at the biggest mosque in Kabul. During Friday prayers, he called for revenge against the Afghans who worked with

foreigners labeling them spies. The Taliban have previously said there would be no retribution against those who helped the Americans and their

allies during the war.

Pfizer COVID booster shots can now officially be administered to millions of adults in the U.S. including people 65 and older and those with high

risk conditions. CDC direct -- CDC director Michelle Walensky went against her vaccine advisors to give the green light to frontline workers at high


In London, mourners are holding a candlelight vigil for a primary school teacher. Police say 28-year-old Sabina Nessa was murdered last Friday

during a short walk from her home to a pub. Police arrested then released one man and they're searching for another man.

U.S. markets aren't sure what to make of all the headlines. The Dow has been mostly flat today. All the major averages have been hovering at around

even. It's been a roller coaster for the Dow all week. Down more than 600 on Monday and 50 more on Tuesday then up 338 Wednesday and more than 500

Thursday. Chinese real estate conglomerate Evergrande was one driver for the week. It's $300 billion in debt and missed a big payment this week.

It was a clear signal for Bitcoin from China. Bitcoin is down after China's central bank deemed all cryptocurrency related activities illegal. That's a

major escalation in that country's ongoing crackdown. Other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum have also dropped sharply on the news.

China's central bank vowed to severely crackdown on any illegal financial activity related to crypto.

Our Clare Sebastian joins us now. Clare, great to see you. You know, China has already gotten tough on cryptocurrencies before we heard this but the

latest statements really take it to another level.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Alison. This is an escalation as you say. It leaves us with the situation in China where

you can basically own cryptocurrency, it's not illegal to own them but there's not a lot left that you can actually do with them legally. The

significant portion of this, the fact that they're now calling all cryptocurrency transactions illegal.

They singled out in particular services from overseas exchanges. That was something that we know since domestic exchanges were banned that people

were continuing to do online through virtual private networks and things like that. So, that really is a bit of a crackdown. They also looked in a

separate statement at mining they say that they're going to -- they're going to gradually shut down all mining operations in the country.

And they're not going to approve any new ones, they call it an orderly exit. And that not too much because of financial stability concerns but

environmental concerns and statements specifically to help achieve the carbon peak and carbon neutral goals as scheduled. So the why here, you

know, it's partly the stated reasons financial stability is what they talk about, environmental concerns.

But experts will point you to recent events, recent actions by China in, you know, curtailing the activities of payment giants like Alipay and the

advancement of their own digital Yuan currency. And this starts to look more like, you know, sort of a control, they don't want the financial

system or parts of it to be -- to be within this decentralized cryptocurrency system. They want to be able to see it and to control it

under the auspices of Beijing.

KOSIK: Yes, it is certainly beginning to look like that. Let's switch gears for a second and talk about Evergrande which missed a big interest payment

owed to bondholders. I realized there's a 30-day grace period but what can we expect next?

SEBASTIAN: Yes. So it's been a -- it's been a really turbulent week, Alison. As you noted, looking at the reaction from the U.S. stocks and the

same with Evergrande's own stock it surged on Thursday, it was down again 12 percent on Friday. We've had, you know, a number of payments that were

due this week. Only one as we know it, a domestic Yuan bond was paid. Another major dollar denominated bond. We don't know what's happened there


It doesn't look like it was paid that was due yesterday. There's another bond that comes due interest on that to (INAUDIBLE) about 47 million coming

next Wednesday. And meanwhile, the deafening silence from Beijing continues. We still don't really know what their plan is whether they're

going to -- in some way bail out the company, most experts don't believe that's the case or whether they might guide it through some kind of orderly


There was a report that's causing some speculation in China that there might be a nationalization of the company turn it into a state-owned

enterprise. But as such, we don't know for sure and that uncertainty is still sort of playing out in corners of the market. Plus, the fact that we

continue to see Beijing and the central bank pump money into the financial system perhaps a way of stabilizing it ahead of a potential default.

KOSIK: OK. Clare Sebastian, thanks so much for all that great reporting. Still ahead, winter is coming but this is no game. Why the U.K. could face

fuel shortages in the coming weeks because of a lack of lorry drivers.



KOSIK: Welcome back. Shell is warning British drivers there may be long lines at its gas stations after other oil companies said a few of theirs

ran empty. The U.K. Automobile Association insists there's fuel -- there's no fuel shortage only a supply chain issue at a handful of stations. It

says thousands of forecourts are operating as normal. It said some deliveries have been delayed but the problem is manageable.

There's been a lack of truck drivers, a shortage blamed on Brexit and COVID. The U.K. is also experiencing a spike in natural gas prices which

has led to the collapse of some energy firms. Nina dos Santos is in London to explain what's going on here. Hi, Nina.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Alison. Good evening to you. Well, you talked about how the Automobile Association, even the government

is saying that, you know, there's plenty of fuel and that not all foreclose are look like this. But let me just show you one behind me. We're right

slap bang in the center of London and as you can see the pumps are dry. It says sorry, out of use.

All these types of fuel are currently dry at this Shell petrol station. I have to say that we have been to other gas stations across London and there

has been fuel there. So it seems as though according to the government and industry experts, this is a localized issue to do less with the supply of

fuel. But more than supply those delivery drivers, if you like. The industry says that they need 100,000 heavy goods vehicle drivers who are

licensed to drive big trucks urgently.

It hasn't just been affecting fuel suppliers by the way, Alison. This trend has been seen on supermarket shelves for weeks across the U.K. with fresh

produce. The restrictions on some of the ranges being very, very obvious, empty Shells and so on and so forth. So you're seeing a lot of different

goods being affected by this lack of delivery drivers. And the government is under extreme pressure to do something about it.

They say this is just because of COVID and other countries around the world are affected by this. But experts also say that Brexit is having its hand

in is because it is blocking a lot of people who are qualified to deliver these trucks from coming to the U.K. For that reason, the government is

coming under increasing pressure to do a U-turn on some of its visa and immigration policies to allow a temporary window for people to come from

Europe to drive trucks to get fuels to pump like this. Alison?

KOSIK: Yes. Nina, this is really becoming one of those perfect storms where, you know, you've got all of these issues colliding all at once. That

-- and this doesn't show any sign of slowing. Is there any indication that Russia may step up its supply of gas?


DOS SANTOS: Well, this is the thing. So there's two different issues going on. On the one hand, we've got the supply issue when it comes to fuel,

which as I said, at the moment is showing up as a local issue. And the government saying please don't panic buy because then it will become a

self-fulfilling prophecy. But further down the line. Yes, there is a broader energy crisis at the moment that the government is having to

contend with with fears that natural gas -- thanks to the soaring natural gas prices will also become in short supply when it's colder in the winter


A number of fuel suppliers have gone out of business recently, the government is coming under increasing pressure to try and help bail them

out and protect customers. But as you said, at the heart of this is also low gas stops because of the pandemic. And because Russia isn't pumping the

same amount of gas at all. Some people say Russia isn't pumping as much gas as Europe and the U.K. needs.

For the moment, it doesn't seem as though Russia is keen to change its position. Just a couple of days ago, CNN got in touch with Gazprom, the

National supplier of gas from Russia that said, we're already pumping at historically high levels. So it doesn't seem as though that impasse is

broken. The gas situation being slightly different. For the moment, though, the fuel situation is also thanks to as I said, a shortage of labor not so

much a shortage of fuel. Alison?

KOSIK: Right. Nina, thanks so much for clarifying that difference. There is a huge difference there. Thank you. OK. Leaders and policymakers in the oil

and gas industry are trying to figure out how to keep delivering energy while also helping make the transformation to a cleaner environment.

Emerging technology can help. Eleni Giokos has the story for today's episode of Think Big.


ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A.I.-powered pumps, cutting edge air compression systems, CO2 management software. These are some of

the technologies shaping the future of energy.

(on camera): Ministers, top CEOs and leaders in the oil and gas industry have gathered here at the gas tech conference in Dubai to discuss ideas and

innovations that will revolutionize the industry over the next decade.

(voice over): And there is one common goal, becoming sustainable while producing the energy, the world wants and needs.

(on camera): Houston based Baker Hughes is at the forefront of tech innovation in the energy sector. CEO Lorenzo Simonelli tells me more about

this big idea.

LORENZO SIMONELLI, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, BAKER HUGHES: The next big thing in the energy industry is really about reducing emissions and not

fuel sources. And that's the technology that we're focused on at Baker Hughes as an energy technology company.

GIOKOS: So let's talk about the exciting technologies. You're deploying robotics and A.I. technologies as well. How is that going to help companies

become more sustainable?

SIMONELLI: I'll give you an interesting stat. If you just make the industry 10 percent more efficient by deploying technologies that we produce such as

Flare I.Q., you can actually reduce half a Giga ton of emissions, CO2 emissions. And that's five percent of the target towards the Paris Accord.

GIOKOS: I want to talk about Flare I.Q. because we see a lot of gas flaring. How do you solve this problem? Because firstly, you're wasting

gas, right? And secondly, it's really bad for the environment.

SIMONELLI: You are wasting gas which is a huge shame. And so, we've developed a technology called Flare I.Q. And if you look at a Flare stack,

it runs at an efficiency of about 70 percent which means you've got emissions being flared an incremental 30 percent. By deploying Flare I.Q.,

we're able to increase the efficiency of that stack from 70 to 98 percent.

GIOKOS: (INAUDIBLE) oil producing nations specifically in the Middle East. What kind of demand are you seeing? I mean, are they -- what kind of

conversations are you having behind closed doors?

SIMONELLI: A number of the major companies are looking at hydrogen clusters. They're looking at the way to develop CCUS. They're actually

eliminating flaring. So there's a lot of activity. And I think also during this conference, you're hearing more and more about how companies are

moving forward. And also the transfer from coal to natural gas. Natural gas is one of the ways in which we can transition but it's also a destination

fuel and we're very optimistic with the outlook of gas.


KOSIK: Next, Greta Thunberg rallies climate activists in Berlin as voters there get ready to head to the polls. We'll look at how climate change is

shaping Germany's federal election.



KOSIK: Germany is about to enter a new political era. The result of Sunday's election will determine who succeeds Chancellor Angela Merkel and

her role she's held for 16 years. The environment has emerged as a key issue for voters. Greta Thunberg addressed the issue at a -- at a climate

strike in Berlin with Green Party hoping for a strong showing. Thunberg told the crowd to make their voices heard.


GRETA THUNBERG, CLIMATE ACTIVIST: It's been a really turbulent last year and a half. This has been a time where we have been reminded of how

vulnerable we are. But we have also been reminded of how fast things can change and be turned completely upside down.


KOSIK: There's a reason why climate change is such a pertinent issue in Germany right now. In July, western parts of the country were devastated by

flooding, turning environmental issues into a life or death matter for some families. Fred Pleitgen has more.


FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was a moment when the global climate emergency became a deadly serious issue for Germany. Flash

flooding this summer in the country's west, killing dozens and destroying entire towns. The moment the environment became one of Germany's most

pressing concerns, says Swen Hutter from Berlin's Free University.

SWEN HUTTER, LICHTENBERG-PROFESSOR IN POLITICAL SOCIOLOGY, FREE UNIVERSITY BERLIN: We've seen now a steady rise especially after the floods now in

summer where we're back to more or less 50 percent saying climate is really the top issue.

PLEITGEN: An issue that can make and break political campaigns. Christian Democratic candidate Armin Laschet dropped severely in the polls when he

was caught laughing on camera while the German President spoke to flood victims. He later apologized for the incident.

Meanwhile, the Green Party topped the polls for a while and is still set for a strong showing with its strong environmental agenda.

ANNALENA BAERBOCK, GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE (through translator): And for the children. For those of you who are 17, 20, it makes a massive difference

who gets to leave this country in the future.

PLEITGEN: Of course, the environment hasn't suddenly become a topic for Germans, one of the largest industrial nations in the world with a massive

thirst for energy. Germany has long debated a fundamental question. How to maintain the economy without destroying the ecology?

Social democratic frontrunner Olaf Scholz says the time to act is now.

OLAF SCHOLZ, SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE: Two hundred fifty years of economic development in our country of industrial development is based on

the use of (INAUDIBLE) if we will change this in 25 years, this is really a big process.


PLEITGEN: Climate activists have become more vocal in recent years spurned by a global movement to tackle manmade climate change. Calling for an end

to diesel and gasoline powered cars and polluting industries, the bedrock of Germany's economy. Conservative Candidate Armin Laschet says his party

wants to foster innovation to help curb greenhouse gases.

For climate policies, we want to invest in innovation and market economy mechanisms which in our opinion promise more than all the ban the SPD and

greens are planning, Laschet recently said. In the 16 years that Angela Merkel-governed Germany, the country and acted some environmental policies

like ditching nuclear energy and attempting to move towards renewables, in a recent news conference though Merkel acknowledged not enough has been

done to fight climate change in Germany which he says that goes for many other countries as well.

HAJO FUNKE, POLITICAL SCIENTIST: My biggest flaw is knowing all about the climate crisis and not doing anything what has to be done.

PLEITGEN: That difficult task is now left to Merkel successor, as the German public is increasingly making clear it wants action on climate

change without further delay. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.


KOSIK: In her 16 years as leader, Angela Merkel oversaw a remarkable economic turnaround for Germany which went from being the so called sick

man of Europe to the continent's largest economy. Mrs. Merkel also helped massively expand job opportunities for women and took in more than a

million refugees. And between Brexit and COVID, she remained a strong figurehead in the unprecedented times.

But there has been criticism of her leadership, notably for not embracing greener and more digital initiatives. For more on Angela Merkel's legacy,

let's bring in Matthew Karnitschnig. He is the Chief Europe Correspondent for Politico and he joins us live from Berlin. Great to see you, Matthew.


KOSIK: So you look back to 2005, wooh, Germany looks a lot different when she took office, when Angela Merkel took office, you know, from the economy

to transatlantic relations. How do you think she's going to be be remembered?

KARNITSCHNIG: Well, to be honest, I think that she'll be remembered more for who she is than what she's done. And by that, I mean that she is an

extraordinary figure when you think that this is a woman who grew up in East Germany, and she only became a politician in the United Germany and

reunified Germany when she was almost 40 years old. And she had this sort of meteoric rise which -- it's almost like a fairy tale that this woman

from the sort of East German countryside would end up sitting at the top table with the world's leaders and indeed be leading Germany for 16 years.

But if you look at her record in terms of what she's actually achieved, she doesn't have the kind of signature achievement that one often associates

with great leaders. If you think of Helmut Kohl, he obviously brought the two Germanys together with reunification. Or if you think of somebody like

Margaret Thatcher who turned around the United Kingdom in terms of its economy and so forth.

It's very easy to point to things. But with Merkel it's a little bit more difficult. And I think that a lot of the points that people raised there's,

you know, actually some controversy about it. Was she really the person who turned Germany's economy around or was it her predecessor who set these

reforms in motion that she then benefited from, for example? Or the refugee crisis, which is still something that is very controversial in Germany.

She decided to let in a million refugees in 2015. Mainly from Syria, but that was also something that divided Europe because other countries didn't

want to take in any of these refugees. And Europe is still struggling with this issue. And you see that, you know, in other areas as well, including

the euro crisis, people remember the Greek crisis, for example. So I think that in terms of policy and her actions, it's kind of mixed.

But certainly, her reputation as a symbol is very powerful, especially for women. I mean, when she came into power, you know, women in Germany were

expected to stay home and look after their children and that's certainly no longer the case.

KOSIK: Very quickly, you know, she still does have a very dominant -- she's one of those dominant figures in European politics. Is there somebody who

can kind of replace that? Is there someone who can be that influential central figure? And then --


KARNITSCHNIG: A lot of people point to Macron but because of France's situation, France is nowhere near as sort of influential as Germany in

terms of its economic and political influence.


KARNITSCHNIG: So I don't really see that happening and this is one of the big questions is whether the next Chancellor, whoever that is will be able

to step in miracles shoes and lead Europe forward.

KOSIK: What is it about right now with her party? She is hugely popular among German voters. But her party the CDU is struggling. Why is her

popularity not transferring?

KARNITSCHNIG: Well, the reason is, is that about a third of the voters for the CDU in the past, voted for the party, for the Christian Democrats

because of Merkel. And they have now fallen to the wayside effectively. If you look at the polls, that suggests that they've lost about a third of

their support since the last election. And that really is a sign that, you know, she is a unique figure. She was the key to the Christian Democrats

success in the past years.

KOSIK: OK. Matthew Karnitschnig, thanks so much for coming on the show. Great perspective.


KOSIK: There are just moments left to trade on Wall Street and we'll have the final numbers and the closing bell right after this.


KOSIK: After a very crazy week on Wall Street, there are just moments left to trade. The Dow hasn't moved much today in either direction. It's 55

points right now higher, near session highs actually. It's set to close out the week higher after recovering from Monday's steep losses. Let's go ahead

and look at the Dow components. The Dow 30 as you can see it's about evenly split Salesforce is in the lead up about three percent.

Just one stock is down sharply. We're seeing shares of Nike off about six percent after those supply chain issues impacted its business. It lowered

its full year sales outlook on those supply chain concerns. It was a weaker session in Europe too. Still a lot of mystery surrounding the fate of

Chinese property developer Evergrande whether it's made a key $83 million interest payment. Evergrande shares slid more than 11 percent in Hong Kong

trading today, as investors await answers.

And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm Alison Kosik in New York. The news continues here on CNN. Have a great weekend. I'll see you next week.