Nation/World Briefs

Exxon chief says climate fears overblown

NEW YORK – ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson says fears about climate change, drilling and energy dependence are overblown.

In a speech Wednesday, Tillerson acknowledged that burning of fossil fuels is warming the planet, but said society will be able to adapt. The risks of oil and gas drilling are well understood and can be mitigated, he said. And dependence on other nations for oil is not a concern as long as access to supply is certain, he said.

Tillerson blamed a public that is “illiterate” in science and math, a “lazy” press, and advocacy groups that “manufacture fear” for energy misconceptions in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations.

He highlighted that huge discoveries of oil and gas in North America have reversed a 20-year decline in U.S. oil production in recent years. He also trumpeted the global oil industry’s ability to deliver fuels during a two-year period of dramatic uncertainty in the Middle East, the world’s most important oil and gas-producing region.

Queen, ex-IRA chief shake hands in Ireland

BELFAST, Northern Ireland – Queen Elizabeth II and a former Irish Republican Army commander offered each other the hand of peace Wednesday in a long-awaited encounter symbolizing Northern Ireland’s progress in achieving reconciliation after decades of violence.

The monarch and Martin McGuinness met privately inside Belfast’s riverside Lyric Theatre during a cross-community arts event featuring Northern Ireland musicians, poets and artists.

Media were barred from seeing their first handshake during an ice-breaker over coffee and tea. But the two shook hands again a half-hour later for the cameras’ benefit, documenting a moment that would have been inconceivable back in the days when IRA leaders were plotting to kill the British royal family. McGuinness’ Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party had never attended a royal function before.

Associated Press