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Each January, the Eurasia Group, a management consultancy, looks at the biggest global political risks in the year to come. Climate change is perennially on the list — this year it ranks thirdbehind public doubt in the legitimacy of President-elect Biden’s election and the coronavirus. But as they astutely point out, these three political risks are inextricably linked.
As Eurasia’s founder and President Ian Bremmer explained on MSNBC, without coronavirus, it is unlikely that Biden would have beaten President Trump.
And the coronavirus also provided a huge opportunity for real progress on climate change because of Biden’s election and the funding governments are providing to rebuild global economies more sustainably.
Why This Matters: “In 2021, climate will go from a playground of global cooperation to an arena of global competition.” In particular, for the U.S. it will be an area of competition and conflict with China, according to Bremmer. And to win the future, we must win on climate technology development and exports, an area where we lag behind China right now.
The first key point is “the U.S. is now in the game” and climate commitments at the annual UN climate meeting in Glasgow in November “will matter in 2021 like never before.” Given a deadlocked Senate, the Biden administration will be required to use executive action to make progress, and that means more regulation to drive down emissions, as well as setting in motion market realities that will cause greater reductions in clean energy costs that are likely to continue indefinitely. That will, in turn, set off a heated (pardon the pun) global competition to provide the products and technologies needed to meet the global emission reduction requirements.
“as the US scrambles to catch up to China in what will quickly become a global clean energy arms race, it will make climate and the energy transition a matter of industrial and national security policy.”
In a “G-zero” world — one without a small set of dominating nations — the potential for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 grows more possible, according to the Report. But global tensions over winning that clean energy and sustainable future will also grow. And given government expenditures to address the climate threat, “politics will be decisive, and winners and losers will be determined by factors other than market forces.”
On Monday, France hosted the One Planet Summit for biodiversity where the leaders of more than 50 nations launched the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People. The coalition aims to secure a global agreement to protect at least 30% of the planet’s land and ocean by 2030 when the Convention on Biological Diversity […]
When you leave your front door, what can you reach in 15 minutes by foot or bike? A grocery store? A school? A park? That’s the question that many urban planners are using to shape plans for how cities operate in the future. The 15-minute city means designing neighborhoods where everything people need, from housing to dining to cultural institutions, is within that 15-minute radius.
Why this Matters: It’s a good idea to create neighborhoods that fulfill people’s basic needs so that they won’t have to travel as far to manage their daily lives – especially post-pandemic when more people are likely to work from home.
The first rules to attempt to reign in greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes went final last week — the only problem is that it won’t actually reduce emissions below current levels because they merely codify improvements the industry is already making, The Hill reported.
Why This Matters: Transportation emissions are one of the largest sources, and even though airline emissions are only around 9% of the U.S. total, they had been increasing greatly pre-pandemic.
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